After a surprising loss to the University of the Philippines Maroons last Saturday, the National University Bulldogs rebounded with a convincing sweep of the University of Santo Tomas Tigers 25-21, 27-25, 25-15 in the UAAP Men’s Volleyball Tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre, earlier today.
The Bulldogs maintained a steady two-point cushion throughout the first set. They finally padded their lead after a flourish from rookie James Natividad, giving them a four-point advantage, 22-18. NU then got hits from three different attackers to come out on top of an an exchange of sideouts.
NU seemed to have control in the second frame. With team captain Vince Mangulabnan’s marvelous ball distribution, the Bulldogs established a six point lead, 10-4. But UST slowly crawled back through the efforts of wingers Arnold Bautista and Tyrone Carodan. The pair eventually converted consecutive attacks that allowed UST to sneak to a 24-23 lead. NU’s Bryan Bagunas kept extending the match until UST again got set point, 25-24, after a Carosan service ace. From there, the Bulldogs rallied to take the set, starting with a Bagunas cross-court bomb followed by a Kim Malabunga kill on an overpassed ball. Bagunas then sealed the set, finding the spot on a long ball attempt.
Raining attacks on the UST side, NU put the third set out of reach early, taking a 20-12 lead and never looking back.
Sophomore Bagunas poured in 17 points off 13 attacks, two blocks and two aces. Opposite hitter Madz Gampong had 15 points built on 12 attacks and three blocks, while Natividad finished with 11 markers.
“Ganoon talaga kapag bata, may mga kailangan pa malaman,” said NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin on their loss to the Maroons. “Ngayon nakita naman na gustomg bumawi ng mga bata. Talagang pinagsikapan nila manalo kanina.”
UST rookie Carodan was the only Tiger in double-digits with 10 points, while Manuel Medina had eight.
NU (3-1) and UST (1-3) will both have their next matches on Saturday at the MoA Arena. The Bulldogs will take on the University of the East Warriors (0-4), while the Tigers will face the Far Eastern University Tamaraws (2-2).
NU (3) – Bagunas 17, Gampong 15, Natividad 11, Malabunga 7, Mangulabnan 2, Saura 2, Ancheta 0, Marcos (L)
UST (0) – Carodan 10, Medina 8, Bautista 6, Balse 5, Sumagaysay 3, Castillo 1, Sarabia 1, Amagan 0, Arbasto 0, Buro 0, Francisco (L)