After two years and three lineup transitions, Bryan Bagunas and James Natividad have proved to be National University’s winning combination, taking down defending champs University of Santo Tomas Tiger Spikers’ Kris Roy Guzman and Anthony Arbasto in the UAAP Season 80 Beach Volleyball tournament at the Sands SM by the Bay.
Both squads traded down-to-the-wire wins in the first two matches of the best-of-three series, with UST taking Game One, 22-20, 26-24, and NU picking up Game Two 21-19, 9-21, 15-10.
The rubber match was also a tight affair, with the Bulldogs slamming their foes 21-15 in the first set, only for the partial UST crowd to fire up their tandem in a rousing 21-14 second-frame victory.
The third set fittingly displayed the gritty, back-and-forth rivalry between both squads. The National University seemingly had the game-deciding cushion after grabbing a 9-7 lead. UST, however, rallied back, tying the set at 9 and trading big hit after big hit with the much taller NU side.
It was five-year beach veteran Guzman who delivered his team’s nail in the coffin, swinging straight into the net and giving the Bulldogs a 13-11 lead.
Having lost out on titles both in indoor and beach for the past two years, Bagunas and Natividad finally showed the maturity needed to clinch a title.
Neither gave up an error or made the missteps they had habitually made the past two years. Both squared up, and powered in the last two points of the match.
“Sobrang saya po namin. Talagang inisip lang namin lahat ng sinakripisyo namin para sa championship na ‘to. Binigay namin lahat namin talaga,” said Bagunas, who was named the MVP.
“Nagtiwala lang po talaga kami sa isa’t isa,” said third-year hitter Natividad. “Lahat po ng tao sa paligid namin at tumulong sa amin, grabe po ‘yung pagtitiwala nila. Kaya nagtiwala na lang kaming dalawa sa isa’t isa.”
NU last won the title in Season 77 on the back of veterans Edwin Tolentino and Henry Tipay.
Guzman and Arbasto ended their three-year partnership with a gold and two silvers. Guzman, the uncle in the uncle-nephew duo, capped his five-year beach stint.
UST clinches back-to-back titles
In a rematch of last season’s Finals, the University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses Cherry Rondina and Caitlyn Viray turned a predicted classic into a romp, sweeping Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws Bernadeth Pons and Kyla Atienza in the UAAP Season 80 Beach Volleyball Finals at the Sands SM by the Bay.
After taking Game One, 21-17, 22-20, the Tigresses showed their heart, coming back from a 14-19 deficit in the second set of Game Two to secure the sweep, 21-15, 21-19.
“Teamwork po talaga ang nagdala sa amin dito,” said UST’s Cherry Rondina. who has gone undefeated throughout the UAAP tournament for the first time in four years of competition.
“Inisa-isa lang po talaga namin ‘yung puntos kasi alam namin na lalaban ang FEU. ‘Di na lang talaga namin hinayaan na sumuko kam,” the three-time UAAP gold medalist added.
Rondina clinched her third UAAP title, and each time she had a different partner.
“Malaki po talaga ‘yung tiwala ko Cait. Hindi naman kami makakarating dito kung hindi niya sobrang ginalingan,” Rondina said of the lefty sophomore.
Pons and Atienza end their UAAP Beach Volley career with their third silver medal.
UP narrows gap with Ateneo after Day 2
Even as their rivals collected four gold medals in five events at the second day of the 80th UAAP Swimming Championships, the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons cut the lead of the Ateneo Lady Eagles by 20 points to end the tally with 206 points, behind Ateneo’s 219 points.
Ateneo’s star rookie Chloe Daos won two of those four gold medals in the 400m Freestyle (4:38.15) and 100m Butterfly (1:05.46).
In both events, it was graduating Lady Maroon Delia Cordero who finished second, clocking 4:46.87 in the 400m Freestyle and 1:06.05 in the 100m Butterfly. Another Lady Maroon, Nadine Tee Ten, took the bronze medal in the 400m Freestyle by registering a time of 4:47.23 while it was UST’s Angelic Saavedra who finished third in the 100m Butterfly with a time of 1:09.10 respectively.
But it was UP’s dominance in the 50m Breaststroke, where Ateneo had no qualifiers, that proved to be the most productive event for the Lady Maroons. Joy Rodgers conquered the event in 33.90 ahead of teammate Teresa Dela Rosa’s 36.67 and NU newcomer Nichole Evangelista’s 36.82.
To gain some lost ground, the Lady Eagles surprisingly swept the podium in the 200m Backstroke. Freshman Courtney Gray (2:27.65) and senior Ariana Herranz (2:28.00) were in a class of their own but a spirited performance by team captain Julia Balanag (2:34.58) became the highlight of the night as she edged out two UP contenders enroute to her first individual bronze medal.
The Lady Eagles capped the night off by ruling the 4x100m Freestyle Relay as Hannah Castañeda, Hannah Dato, Shayn Ting and Andrea Ngui teamed up to finish first in 4:14.58. UP finished second in 4:21.16 while UST was third in 4:28.34.
In the individual awards race, Rookie of the Year and MVP candidate Daos leads all swimmers with 57 points while UP’s Tee Ten has 51 points.
UAAP Season 80 Women’s Swimming tally after Day 2
ADMU – 219
UP – 206
UST – 57
DLSU – 35
NU – 16
400m Individual Medley
4x50m Freestyle Relay
The Preliminary Session begins at 8:30am while the Finals Session begins at 3:30pm
Heavy rains delay Women’s UST-FEU, Men’s NU-UST Finals
Due to inclement weather, UAAP officials have decided to move the start of the beach volleyball tournament Finals to Saturday at 3:00pm, still at the Sands SM by the Bay.
Earlier in the day, Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws’ Bernadeth Pons and Kyla Atienza broke into the Women’s Finals after squashing the University of the Philippines’ Tots Carlos and Arielle Estrañero, 21-8, 21-18.
They face University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses Cherry Rondina and Caitlyn Viray in a rematch of last season’s classic best-of-three series.
On the Men’s side, UST’s Kris Roy Guzman and Anthony Arbasto moved a step closer to back-to-back titles after slamming FEU’s Jude Garcia and Jeremiah Barrica, 21-17, 21-16.
The Tiger Spikers take on the National University Bulldogs tandem of Bryan Bagunas and James Natividad in the Finals.
UST earns outright Finals berth; UP climbs stepladder
Defending champions Univeristy of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses made their road to a repeat much clearer after sweeping the elimination round and earning a berth directly in the best-of-three Finals at the SM Sands by the Bay in Pasay City.
Cherry Rondina and Caitlyn Viray broke into the Finals after a classic showdown with erstwhile-undefeated rivals Far Eastern University’s Bernadeth Pons and Kyla Atienza, 22-20, 17-21, 15-13.
Since Rondina started playing for UST, Season 80 marks the third time they have swept the elimination round.
“Sobrang relief po siya sa amin. Pero alam din namin na hindi pa tapos ang laban. Kailangan pa rin namin trabahuhin ‘yung gold,” said Rondina, who has two UAAP titles under her belt.
FEU, on the other hand, drop to the second seed of the stepladder Final Four and salvage a twice-to-beat advantage.
They face the Univeristy of the Philippines’ Tots Carlos and Arielle Estrañero tomorrow at 3 p.m.
The Lady Maroons earned their berth up the ladder with a thrilling three-set triumph over De La Salle University Lady Spikers Tine Tiamzon and May Luna, 17-21, 21-19, 15-12.
If FEU win in their first match, they play in the Finals later in the day. If UP force a second game, the Finals will be moved to Saturday.
UAAP Season 80 Women’s Beach Volleyball
Final Elimination Round Standings
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