The Lady Bulldogs spearheaded by skipper Jaja Santiago make short work of AU Lady Chiefs, handing them a straight set loss 25-17, 25-16, 25-23 in the first of the best of three series at the San Juan Arena. It was like a walk in the park for National in the first two sets before the Lady Chiefs finally showed resistance in the third frame.
With Game 2 an the Lady Bulldogs book the first ticket to Finals or can the Lady Chiefs drag them to a do or die match? What adjustments will AU make and what NU did right? Let’s dissect the first game
Game 1 Statistics
Individual Points: Santiago (24), Sato (11), Urdas (8), Singh (7), Paran(5), Nabor (5), Doria (1), Valdez (L)
Sets: 27.1% excellent sets percentage
Offense: 38.13 % attack percentage
Defense: Digs – 52.87% Receives – 39.62%
What went right?
As written in my Game 1 preview and prediction, NU’s x–factor is Gayle Valdez. When she delivers decent first balls to Nabor then AU’s blockers will be left guessing on who focus on. The success of this strategy was clear with the Lady Bulldog’s attacking percentage at 38.13% compared to only 23.85% of the Lady Chiefs.
NU players Sato and Urdas chipped in with 11 and 8 points, respectively but it was Jaja Santiago that fired on all cylinders as she dominated the scoring with 24 points – 18 from attacks, 3 from blocks and 3 from aces.
AU Lady Chiefs
Game 1 Statistics
Individual Points: Arocha (8), Ebuen (6), Marzan (6), Esguerra (5), Prado (4), Ramirez (3), Verutiao (0), Balanoba (0) Flores (L)
Sets: 34.06% excellent sets percentage
Offense: 23.85 % attack percentage
Defense: Digs – 36.70% Receives – 35.39%
What went wrong?
The Lady Chiefs came out flat in all aspects. They were outplayed and outsmarted by the Lady Bulldogs in all departments except setting; -6 in blocks, -4 in aces, and a large (14.28%) disparity on the attacking percentage.
Moreover, their skipper Jovie Prado was nowhere to be found. Scoring only 4 points was not the kind of leadership that Coach Obet was expecting from his veteran. In order for them to drag the series to third game, Prado and Arocha must deliver higher scores in Game 2.
Can the NU Lady Bulldogs sweep the series?
Probability of winning: NU (70%) AU (30%).
My prediction is that National University Lady Bulldogs will take game 2 in 3 or 4 sets and sweep the semis to advance to the Final.