All heart, all might for Jaja Santiago, NU against UP Lady Maroons

MANILA – Even as they finished as the second-best team after the quarterfinals of the 13th Shakey’s V-League Collegiate Conference, the NU Lady Bulldogs are not at all contended.

The defending champions were all heart, all might in their first encounter against a dangerous UP Lady Maroons squad on Monday at the Philsports Arena.

Riding the superb play of team captain Jaja Santiago, the NU Lady Bulldogs took Game 1 of the semi-finals in four sets, 25-23, 25-23, 23-25, 26-24.

It was not a typical walk-in-the park victory for a powerhouse team like the Lady Bulldogs, but their excellent play on the offensive end was crucial to hold off a feisty and relentless Lady Maroons team.

Present and former team captains Santiago and Jorelle Singh finished the game with 22 points apiece. Aiko Urdas also had one of her most notable performances since her return with 12 points.

Yet no matter how lethal the Lady Bulldogs’ spikers were, half of the credit should be given to spiker-turned-setter Jasmine Nabor who continues to impress in the conference. The converted setter tallied 48 excellent sets in the game.

Nicole Tiamzon and Isa Molde tried to carry the load for the ladies from Diliman with 17 and 13 points, respectively.

Game 2 of the Best-of-Three semis showdown is scheduled on Wednesday, 4pm.