|San Sebastian's Katherine Villegas seemed to ask, "I'm up against this?" That's NU's Ivy Perez, Mina Aganon and Jaja Santiago fronting the Lady Stag. NU won via three-set sweep.|
NU’s Santiago sisters are too much for San Sebastian in a three-set sweep
by rick olivares
April 8, 2014
First Conference, Shakey's V-League
First Conference, Shakey's V-League
The Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan
With the score at 15-10 in the third set, San Sebastian quicker Jonah Corpuz served. Her serve was good but Desiree Dadang was able to dig the ball and into the hands of Ivy Perez for a play. The National University setter quickly set up Jaja Santiago for an attack. Noting that the younger of the Santiago sisters was coming up the middle, the Lady Stags set up their floor defense behind the wall put up by Czarina Berbano and Sasa Devanadera.
Santiago rose up and hammered down a powerful spike. Incredibly, San Sebastian’s diminutive libero Alyssa Eroa was able to dig the ball. However because the sheer force of Santiago’s smash, Eroa was unable to control the ball as it went back up to NU’s left side of the net where Dindin Santiago was waiting.
Spike. Point. NU Lady Bulldogs, 16; San Sebastian Lady Stags, 10.
That play was a microcosm of the entire match that ended up in a three-set sweep by the Lady Bulldogs that saw the Santiago sisters combine for 23 points while Sweet Urdas added 12 of her own.
NU utilized its height advantage and depth while the San Sebastian Lady Stags seemed almost beaten from the opening serve. They lacked blocking at the net allowing the Santiago sisters to spike with near impunity in the first set. It didn’t help that confusion reigned on San Sebastian’s side because of poor hitting, communication, and playmaking.
San Sebastian finally made a game of it in the middle of the second set when setter Trisha Crisostomo finally found her groove. She engaged returning NU guest player Rubie De Leon (who only played in the second set but quickly underscored her importance by recording 11 excellent sets) and the game got a little more intense. In one of her best sets of the match, Crisostomo fooled NU’s defense by sending NU’s wall to one side before setting up Devanadera on the other side for a monstrous spike that made it, 18-10, for NU.
San Sebastian mounted a rally and was soon nipping at NU’s heels, 19-15. But any hopes of catching up to the Lady Bulldogs were dashed when the referee erroneously called a Berbano spike out while completely missing the check ball off a NU defender. The Lady Bulldogs went on to take the pivotal second set, 25-19.
Roger Gorayeb’s girls weren’t about to let go of their sterling play in the second set as they battled NU tooth and nail to stay close at 9-8 after a Jolins Labiano shot that went through the block.
NU took advantage of a spate of errors by San Sebastian to put some distance, 12-8, and the Lady Stags never threatened again.
With the 25-16, 25-19, 25-16 win, National University remained undefeated in three matches while San Sebastian fell to 1-2; a poor gift for Gorayeb who was celebrating his birthday on this day.
Not one Lady Stag finished in double digit scoring underlying their poor play.
Funny moment: With the score 23-17 in the second set, Dindin Santiago’s serve was short, hitting sister Jaja on the back of the head for a service error. The next time the elder Santiago sister served – that was early in the third set -- Jaja put one hand behind her head to protect herself in case of a mis-serve. The Lady Bulldogs had a laugh.