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Coach expects more fire from NU belles

You are only as good as your last game.

That’s what newly-appointed National University coach Babes Castillo wants to prove after the Lady Bulldogs took Game 1 of their best-of-three women’s finals series against Far Eastern University in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference Wednesday.

Though the Lady Bulldogs displayed their new-found confidence, the Lady Bulldogs were still lacking of the so-called killer’s instinct in their 25-22, 21-25, 25-18, 26-24 over the Lady Tamarawzs at The Arena in San Juan City.

And that’s the reason why Castillo was hardly impressed.

“I think the girls haven’t found the right balance between being relaxed and being assertive,” said Castillo.

“That’s high on our priority list for them to develop. There were little things we could have done better with our execution.”

Game 1 saw the Lady Bulldogs dictating the game, including a 12-5 cushion in the fourth set, only to watch it vanish against the resilient Lady Tamaraws.

Luckily for NU, FEU fell into a maze of errors that resulted to the latter’s downfall.

“I want us to win convincingly,” said Castillo. “Considering that this was my first tournament with the team. I want this to be a great experience for us.”

Six-foot-5 Jaja Santiago proved to be the heart and soul of the Lady Bulldogs after firing 23 points built on 15 attacks, four blocks and four aces. Risa Sato and Audrey Paran also provided spark with 12 and 11 points, respectively, even as Jasmine Nabor delivered six points apart from 46 excellent sets.

For FEU coach George Pascua, he believes they still have a shot at winning the series.

But they have to play with a sense of urgency in tomorrow’s Game 2.

The Lady Tamaraws sorely missed the absence of top hitter Bernadeth Pons, who currently competes in the UAAP beach volleyball.

Without Pons, the offensive burden was carried out by Czarina Carandang and Jeanette Villareal who somehow delivered by combining for 32 points.

But they fell short of their mission,

“Sa mindset lang talaga nagkulang, dun sa mga crucial points sa dulo,” said Pascua.

“Pero alam kong magiging mas matibay kami sa Game 2 and hopefully, sa Game 3,” Pascua said.