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Lady Bulldogs tame Tigresses for repeat SSL reign

Alyssa Solomon leads National University to a four-set win over University of Santo Tomas to rule the SSL Collegiate Preseason Championship. (SSL photo)

National University defeated University of Santo Tomas, 25-17, 15-25, 25-20, 25-20, in Game 2 of the finals to complete a second straight flawless reign in the Shakey’s Super League Collegiate Pre-Season Championship Season 2 on Saturday at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila.

The Lady Bulldogs staved off the feisty Tigresses to chew out their 18th win in a row since sweeping the inaugural tournament last year.

Bela Belen, who bagged the 1st Best Outside Hitter award, delivered when it mattered the most with 17 points – all on attacks – including seven of NU’s last 10 points to complete a comeback in the fourth set.

Vange Alinsug added 15 points while back-to-back tournament Most Valuable Player Alyssa Solomon, who also won her second Best Opposite Spiker recognition, dropped 14 points on 10 hits, three blocks and an ace.

Best Setter Camilla Lamina quarterbacked the steady offense with 1st Best Middle Blocker and team captain Erin Pangilinan anchoring the defensive stand of the Lady Bulldogs in the best-of-three series.

“I admire UST. They played great in the past two games. I felt that we were the ones unprepared for them. I guess our maturity spelled the difference for us to survive the game,” NU coach Norman Miguel said.

The Lady Bulldogs split the first two sets with Tigresses. NU started slow in the third but Solomon willed the team back to life after trailing 6-9 for a 2-1 match lead.

UST behind Xyza Gula took a 16-13 lead in the fourth frame but Belen took charge with a timely eruption to lift NU to a gritty win.

Overall, the Lady Bulldogs dropped only two sets in an amazing 10-game win this season – a similar feat they had in yielding only two frames in an eight-game campaign last year.

Gula had 18 points while Angeline Poyos and Regina Jurado added 11 and 10 points, respectively, for UST.

Meanwhile, other individual awardees were Poyos (2nd Best Outside Hitter) and Detdet Pepito (Best Libero) of UST and Lorene Toring (2nd Best Middle Blocker) of Adamson University.

Earlier, Far Eastern University completed a sweep of Adamson, 25-18, 16-25, 25-15, 21-25, 15-7, in Game 2 to bag the bronze medal.

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