MANILA – National University was on the brink of its fourth straight loss on Wednesday evening, as they trailed 10-14 in the fifth set of their UAAP Season 81 match against University of the Philippines.
Another point would have sealed the deal for the Lady Maroons, but Marist Layug sent her serve long to keep the Lady Bulldogs alive. It proved to be just the opening that National U needed to pull off a remarkable comeback.
National U would win 7 of the last 8 points of the match, eventually taking the fifth frame in extended fashion, 17-15. Geline Luceno came up with the winner, blocking UP captain Tots Carlos at the net to seal their victory.
That they would save four match points and rally from a seemingly insurmountable deficit came as no surprise to NU's rookie libero Jennifer Nierva.
"No doubt ako sa mga teammates ko," said the libero, who earned Player of the Game honors with 26 digs and 29 receptions.
"Nakikita ko talaga na nag-trabaho kami sa training, and I know na lalabas iyan sa game," she said.
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For Nierva, their win was a testament to their desire to win, especially as they had already clawed out of a 1-2 hole and recovered from a late deficit in the fourth frame to force a deciding set.
"Ginusto namin manalo," she stressed. "Pinagtrabuhan namin every point, alam namin mahirap pero gagawin namin for the people beside us."
The win was the second of the season for NU, snapping a 3-game skid and putting them in sixth place in the league standings. For the Lady Bulldogs, however, the result was more significant than just another mark on the win column for them.
"Yung pagkapanalo namin ngayon, kaya naming patunayan na 'yung bawat isa, may trust talaga na gusto manalo," said Nierva.
"Yung team na ito, kulang kami," she added, referring to the season-ending injury suffered by freshman setter Joyme Cagande in their very first game of the season. "Pero may gusto kami i-achieve."
"Hindi namin sinasabi na ganito lang ang team namin, kaya talo kami. Hindi," she stressed. "Ginawa namin siyang motivation."
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