Lady Bull­dogs tar­get PVL crown sweep vs Tams

Manila Times - - WOMEN SPORTS - CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO 11 a.m. – NU vs UST Pre­sen­ta­tion of Awards 1 p.m. – Ate­neo vs FEU (men’s) 4 p.m. – Adam­son vs Arel­lano Pre­sen­ta­tion of Awards 6:30 p.m. – NU vs FEU (women’s) AFP

NA­TIONAL U sets out for a rare feat in the Premier Vol­ley­ball League to­day (Satur­day), eye­ing no less than a sweep of the Col­le­giate Con­fer­ence crown against Far Eastern U at the Filoil Fly­ing V Cen­ter in San Juan.

The Lady Bull­dogs pounced on the Lady Tams’ late mis­cues and pounded out a 25-22, 21-25, 2518, 26-24 vic­tory in the opener of their best-of-three ti­tle series late Wed­nes­day. And un­less the un­der­handed Mo­rayta-based squad could neu­tral­ize NU’s power and edge in ex­pe­ri­ence and match its endgame poise, the Lady Bull­dogs could be on their way to com­plet­ing a nine- game sweep of the sea­son-end­ing con­fer­ence crown of the league or­ga­nized by Sports Vi­sion.

After his wards scram­bled at Tams to threaten in Game One, NU coach Babes Castillo this time ex­pects the Lady Bull­dogs to come

“We’ve seen some ral­lies that we could’ve con­trolled right away. But like I said hindi pa nila makuha ang bal­ance on be­ing re­laxed and as­sertive,” said Castillo of his wards.

The match can be viewed live via stream­ing on www.sports.abs-cbn. com/livestream/pvl.

But the Lady Tams will have to worry more on how to defuse the kills, in­clud­ing four kill blocks, in their four-set win that also saw Risa Sato score 12 mark­ers, Au­drey Paran de­liver 11 points and Jorelle Singh and Aiko Ur­das com­bine for 17 hits.

Ur­das also came up with 16 digs as the Lady Bull­dogs sur­vived the Lady Tams’ 14-ace out­ing.

Jas­mine Na­bor has also kept NU’s play in sync, tal­ly­ing 46 ex­cel­lent sets in the team’s 51 at­tacks. The third year set­ter, whose lean frame be­lies her power off the spike and abil­ity to foil at­tacks, also scored six points, in­clud­ing three blocks.

But de­spite their Game One loss, FEU coach George Pas­cua said he was sat­is­fied with how the Lady Tams chal­lenged their fan­cied ri­vals con­sid­er­ing they played with­out skip­per and top hit­ter Ber­nadeth Pons and libero Kyla Atienza.

His two aces’ Game Two stint re­mains un­cer­tain as FEU stayed in con­tention for a shot in the tour­na­ment. But even in their ab­sence, Pas­cua still drew big games from the likes of Cza­rina Caran­dang, Toni Basas and Jeanette Vil­lareal among oth­ers.

“I am sat­is­fied be­cause they gave their best. It’s just that they suc­cumbed in the end. It will only make us strong in Games Two and Three. It also hap­pened to us in the best-of-three be­fore. So I told them we should learn from that,” said Pas­cua, re­fer­ring to their semis duel with Adam­son, which they stunned in sud­den death.

Mean­while, Ate­neo also shoots for the crown against FEU in the men’s di­vi­sion of the league backed by Mikasa and Asics at 1 p. m.

Arel­lano and UST, on the other hand, seek third to wrap up their own best-of-three play­off for third with the for­mer facing Adam­son in the women’s side at 4 p.m. and the lat­ter clash­ing with Na­tional U at 11 a.m. in the men’s di­vi­sion. Games to­day (men’s) (women’s) Heather Anne Guino- o, de­fy­ing NU’s Jas­mine Na­bor and Risa Sato’s de­fense in the ti­tle series opener, seeks to de­liver more as they try to re­bound in Game 2 of the PVL Col­le­giate Con­fer­ence Fi­nals to­mor­row.

Maria Sharapova equalled her best per­for­mance since re­turn­ing from a dop­ing sus­pen­sion when she reached the Tian­jin Open semi­fi­nals on Fri­day.

The Rus­sian eas­ily de­feated Swiss qual­i­fier Ste­fanie Voegele 6-3, 6-1 in 64 min­utes. The for­mer world num­ber one will face ei­ther China’s Peng Shuai or Spain’s Sara Sor­ribes Tormo in the last four.

Sharapova re­turned from a 15-month sus­pen­sion in April for tak­ing the banned sub­stance mel­do­nium.

In her first tour­na­ment back, in Stuttgart, she made it to the semi-fi­nals but has been un­able to re­peat that feat again, un­til now.

The 30-year-old, ranked 86 in the world, was granted a wild­card for Tian­jin be­cause her rank­ing was too low.

TIAN­JIN, China:

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