By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs cemented their status as the UAAP Season 84 Women’s volleyball queens after asserting their mastery over the De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Spikers, 25-15, 25-15, 25-22, and swept them in two games of the grand finals.
Aside from a terrific 16-0 season, the Lady Bulldogs also halted its 65-year UAAP championship title drought and won their third overall title.
It was a test of character for the Lady Bulldogs from the get-go as the gritty and fired-up La Salle squad took an early 6-10 lead in the first set.
The season’s Rookie Most Valuable Player (MVP) Bella Belen led the Lady Bulldogs’ fightback midway in the opening set with nine big points that sucked the life out of the Lady Spikers.
The Lady Bulldogs then kicked off the second set with their usual brand of offensive display as superstar setter Lams Lamina fed Belen, Alyssa Solomon, and Ivy Lacsina who helped NU establish a wide lead and sealed the set for a 2-0 lead.
La Salle still fought back in the third set and even took a 20-17 lead but NU’s clutch 7-0 offensive run took care of business that put the whole Lady Bulldogs fans to their feet celebrating.
Thea Gagate fumbled her service possession and resulted in an error that concluded NU’s historic season and officially marked their 16th win.
The Lady Bulldogs joined the Ateneo de Manila University Season 77 batch as the only team who swept the tournament until the championship series.
“Siguro yung pagiging coach ko nag champion pero marami kami hardships na pinagdaanan. Sobrang saya and sobrang nakakasaya para sa team,” said NU head coach Karl Dimaculangan.