National U bolsters top-seed bid


UE star Bella Belen fires a point past the defense of Ateneo. —SHAKEY’S PHOTO

Defending champion National University (NU) moved closer to a sweep while University of Santo Tomas (UST) bounced back in Day 2 of the Shakey’s Super League (SSL) Collegiate Pre-Season Championship Season 2 playoffs over the weekend at Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

Bella Belen fueled the Lady Bulldogs in a 25-20, 25-18, 25-15 drubbing of the Ateneo Blue Eagles, with the former Rookie-Most Valuable Player winner in the UAAP finishing with 13 points on 11 attacks.

“We’re never too confident in a game. We always keep in mind that we have a lot to improve on, which we continue to do in training. That makes it easier for us during games,” Belen said.

National U stretched its unbeaten run to five games to tighten its grip on the No. 1 seed, with UST staying second at 4-1 (win-loss) after clobbering the Arellano Lady Chiefs, 25-16, 31-29, 25-18.

The Lady Bulldogs, under returning mentor Norman Miguel, needed only 84 minutes to take down the Blue Eagles to stay on track for a title retention bid after sweeping the inaugural season.

Jonna Perdido fired 13 points while Angeline Poyos and Regina Jurado added 12 and seven points, respectively, for UST, which bounced back after losing to NU in its previous assignment.

“We were all eager to win; that’s the reason for our performance in this game,” Perdido said after the Tigresses’ triumph.

UST finished fourth in the SSL Season 1 and third in the SSL National Invitationals this year. The team hopes to improve on those finishes here.

Arellano fell to 3-2 while Ateneo slipped to a 2-3 card and remained winless in the playoffs, where all eight teams carried over their standings from the preliminary round.

The playoffs standings will determine the quarterfinal pairings, with the higher-ranked squads owning twice-to-beat incentives.

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The Lady Chiefs stunned the Blue Eagles in the playoff opener, 25-21, 25-18, 25-21.

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