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SSL champs book Japan training

Despite a title conquest in flawless fashion, National University continues its quest for improvement is it plots a training camp in Japan next month in preparation for the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament.

The Lady Bulldogs will be in the Asian volleyball powerhouse country from 4 to 18 December in a location yet to be finalized as they shoot for a back-to-back UAAP title.

NU head coach Karl Dimaculangan said a Japan trip will further strengthen the team’s chemistry as well as improve the skills of his already highly-talented pieces heading into the UAAP wars early next year.

He wants the Lady Bulldogs to further level up their performance even after completing an eight-game sweep of the Shakey’s Super League Collegiate Pre-season Championship just five months after an amazing 16-0 romp in UAAP Season 84 to end a 65-year wait for the crown.

“We will review our performance and prepare for the UAAP. We can’t be content with where we are right now. We have to set a higher expectation on what we can do,” Dimaculangan said following the Lady Bulldogs’ 25-23, 25-20, 25-20, SSL final win over De La Salle University on Saturday at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

“We’re planning to set up a training camp abroad for the players and me to further our learning,” he added.

“We’ll train in Japan in preparation for the UAAP. We don’t want to settle so we’re really looking forward to what we can learn there.”

SSL Most Valuable Player and Best Opposite Hitter winner Alyssa Solomon, who scored 14 points against the Lady Spikers, including the championship-clinching hit, welcomes the plan of international exposure.

In fact, Solomon, who proved to be a thorn in the side of the same La Salle squad NU swept in the last UAAP finals, is very eager to up her skillset.

“I want to develop a faster tempo. I’m really having a difficult time keeping up with the tempo of our open hitters. We’ll try to work that out in Japan,” Solomon said.

Seeing how teams have improved in the SSL that features all eight UAAP teams and 10 NCAA squads, NU libero Jen Nierva sees the importance of them making the most of their Japan training.

“We’re going to prepare for the UAAP. We will be training in Japan for two weeks so we really have to maximize the opportunity given to us by our team manager,” she said.

“So, we’re very excited because we’ve seen here in Shakey’s the improvement of other teams.”

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