NU Lady Bulldogs

NU Lady Bulldogs' Erin Pangilinan (#14). –UAAP PHOTO

NU Lady Bulldogs’ Erin Pangilinan (#14). –UAAP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Erin Pangilinan was satisfied with her first start for National University as they started their title defense with a rousing victory over Ateneo in the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament on Saturday

With the Lady Bulldogs starting life without Ivy Lacsina who opted to turn pro for F2 Logistics, Pangilinan admitted it was challenging to replace their former middle blocker but she used it as a motivation in embracing her bigger role.

“At first, it was a bit challenging because Ate Ivy is a different player. But I take it as a challenge to be different from Ate Ivy. I’ll show something different to my teammates and to our opponents,” said Pangilinan in Filipino after the 25-15, 25-20, 25-16 win at Mall of Asia Arena.

The 5-foot-8 middle blocker, a substitute player during their perfect run last season, delivered seven points in her UAAP debut as a starter.

Pangilinan was pleased with her performance but it won’t stop her from continuing to improve her game.

“I am satisfied but at the same time, I won’t be complacent. I’m willing to take another improvement,” she said. “I still have to improve my connection with my setter, which is very critical, and my serve.”

The Nazareth School product admitted she felt jitters at first but her experience as a starter in the Shakey’s Super League and their training camp in Japan helped her stay composed.

“I was a bit nervous to start the game because I still don’t know how I will perform with the team. But of course, they already have expectations from me. With the help of our experience in Shakey’s and our training, I was able to gel with them and I didn’t have a hard time,” Pangilinan said.

Pangilinan attributed her smooth adjustment as part of the starting six to her teammates, whom she’s been playing with since high school.

“I’ve been with them since high school. They already know how I play and how I move inside the court. And they encourage me that we can do it [together],” she said.

NU, which won 19 straight games dating back to the 2020 season, battles fellow opening day winner Adamson on Wednesday at the same venue in Pasay City.

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