Final bite: NU eyes V-League back-to-back against Ateneo

NU and Jaja Santiago gun for back-to-back titles when they face off with Ateneo in Game 2 of the 13th Shakey’s V-League Collegiate Conference finals Wednesday night at the Philsports Arena. 

Needing a miracle to come back and beat the Lady Eagles in the series opener, the favored Lady Bulldogs are expected to come out stronger this time in the match scheduled at 6:00pm.

The towering Santiago had 31 points while Aiko Urdas willed the Sampaloc spikers back from the jaws of defeat to hack out a 25-21, 19-25, 23-25, 25-18, 18-16 decision before a wild crowd.

NU trailed big early in the final frame before an onslaught led by Santiago tied the match at 14 before the 6-foot-5 middle blocker went to the back of the rotation.

Urdas then took matters into her own hands, clipping Ateneo’s defense with a barrage of hits — the last of which sealed the deal for the Lady Bulldogs, who have only lost once in the tournament.

The Lady Eagles have done an admirable job of moving on from the Alyssa Valdez era, but would need a fitter Jho Maraguinot to complement the vastly-improved Bea de Leon in the front line.

In the 4:00pm curtain-raiser, FEU tries to pull the plug on UP’s campaign when they lock horns in Game 2 of the battle-for-third.

A victory will hand the Lady Tamaraws the outright bronze medal, but if the Lady Maroons win in less than 5 sets and NU downs Ateneo, the Diliman belles will go home with the third-place award. — By Josiah Albelda