Facing a fellow young team, the NU Bulldogs showed that they were well-ahead of the rebuilding UE Red Warriors. The boys from Sampaloc crushed the Red Warriors in three quick sets 25-15, 25-22, 25-11 in the inaugural Spikers’ Turf Collegiate Conference presented by PLDT Home Ultera in the FilOil Flying-V Arena.
Imposing their might from the start, the NU Bulldogs continued their long standing tradition of shutting down their opponent’s best scorer through devastating blocks. UE’s sophomore wunderkind, Edward Camposano was frustrated all-game, surrendering countless attacks errors and finishing with a dismal nine points.
The Bulldogs offense showed tremendous potential with their scoring options, arguably more ubiquitous than last season. Four players crossed double-digits for last UAAP season’s runners-up with Kim Malabunga going for 12 points, Fauzi Ismail dropping 11, and Madzian Gampong and Bryan Bagunas each contributing 10 markers.
NU dominated the first set, establishing an early 13-5 lead as UE struggled to patch up their propensity for attacks errors. With UE trimming NU’s lead down to five 17-12, NU responded with an imposing late game run through attacks from their wing hitters. Gampong and Ismail combined for six of NU’s last eight points and gave their team an early 1-0 set lead.
In the following set, the Red Warriors were able to keep the battle closer as NU also caught the error bug. After trailing by three early in the second frame, 10-13, Roniey Adviento sparked a UE rally with consecutive attack kills followed by two NU attack errors, giving UE its first lead of the game, 14-13. From there, the Bulldogs slowly reestablished their lead, scoring twice for every UE point, eventually burying the Red Warriors in a 21-17 hole. NU then gave up a few more errors allowing Edward Camposano to nearly singlehandedly steal the set with three consecutive spikes that put UE within a point of NU, 23-22. However, NU quickly adjusted and stifled Camposano in the set’s last two points, putting them comfortably ahead, 2 sets to nil.
The Bulldogs wasted no time in the third frame, building a 12-5 advantage and never looking back. NU sealed their win with a trademark run. NU’s final four points all came off blocks against Edward Camposano, sending the National Team standout crashing to the floor in frustration as the final buzzer sounded.
Bulldogs’ head coach, Dante Alinsunurin praised the performance of his setter, Vince Mangulabnan, in the postgame presser, citing the former UAAP Best Setter, and Best Server as the key to his team’s continued success. “Ang naging advantage ko talaga is si Vince, ‘yung setter namin, Kahit pareho kaming medyo bata ng kalaban, kampante ako na hindi magkakamali si Vince, beterano na siya,” the Air Force middle blocker said.
UE, having lost all 14 of their games in UAAP Season 77, will look to avenge their record when they face their Recto rivals, FEU, on Monday, July 27. NU faces the NCBA Wildcats, who have two former Bulldogs – Edwin Tolentino and Reyson Fuentes -as guest players on Wednesday, July 29.
NU (3) – Malabunga 12, Ismail 11, Bagunas 10, Gampong 10, Saura 6, Mangulabnan 1, Capal 1, Dayandante 0, Ogoc 0, Marcos (L)
UE (0) – Camposano 9, Umadal 6, Adviento 4, Lelic 4, Abrot 3, Alba 3, Saguin 2, Magdaong 0, Inoferio (L), Sawal (L)