Defending champion National University came back from a set down to submit University of Santo Tomas, 21-25, 25-16, 25-19, 25-17, in Game 1 of the Shakey’s Super League Collegiate Pre-Season Championship on Friday at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila.
Reigning Most Valuable Player Alyssa Solomon scattered 15 points while Vange Alinsug pounded all of her 13 markers off kills to lead the Lady Bulldogs within one win of a repeat crown in the best-of-three series.
NU had a slow start as it dropped a set for the first time in the tournament after cruising their way into the finals. The Lady Bulldogs have won 17 straight since their flawless conquest last year.
“UST really played well right from the start. Their defense, service and passing were on point. They got us early so the pressure was on us,” NU coach Norman Miguel said.
“I’m just thankful for the maturity shown by our players. I told them to put their hearts into it. We just want to take Game 1 and then work again on Game 2,” the mentor added as the Lady Bulldogs try to finish off the Tigresses on Saturday at the same venue.
Former UAAP Rookie-MVP Bella Belen also had 13 markers and skipper Erin May Pangilinan chipped in with 10 points for NU.
The Lady Bulldogs flaunted their championship pedigree after yielding the opening frame by dominating UST, which showed little to no resistance at all from there on.
Angeline Poyos finished with 13 points while Regina Jurado and Jonna Perdido got 12 and 11 points, respectively, for Tigresses.
If needed, Game 3 is on Sunday.