The National University Bulldogs coasted past their own miscues and the University of the East Warriors for a straight set win 25-14, 25-23, 25-21at the MoA Arena, earlier today.
The Bulldogs walloped the Warriors right from the first point. With UE’s attacking and serving barely giving their ball control a challenge, NU brought their lead up to as much as 12, 23-11, quickly taking the lead.
Throwing away costly errors, NU allowed UE to take control of much of the second set. UE took a 16-14 lead with nine of their points coming from NU errors. UE later came close to taking the frame leading 22-20 from a Vince Abrot kill and a Madz Gampong hitting error. Finally getting help from their backline, NU immediately forced a 22-all tie through a Bryan Bagunas kill then a Kim Malabunga block on Camposano. James Natividad and Gampong then put the finishing touches on the late NU surge.
UE again kept the third set relatively close, getting into their offensive groove. The Warriors trailed NU by two for much of the set even forcing a 20-all tie after a Camposano smash and a UE block. But the Bulldogs bulldozed through the last stretch of the match, scoring five of the last six points with Natividad and Gampong taking control.
“Sa totoo lang medyo nababagalan pa ako sa improvement namin. Siguro dahil sa bata pa kami o dahil may mga injury pang iniinda ‘yung mga player,” said NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin when asked to asses his team. “Hopefully by the second round, mas mabilis na mag-adapt.”
Natividad and Bagunas finished with 14 points apiece while Gampong contributed 11 markers.
Camposano towed the Warriors with 15 points while Abrot pitched in 10 markers.
NU improved to 4-1 while UE slumped to an 0-5 slate, winless since last season.
NU and the Ateneo Blue Eagles figure in a Finals rematch next Saturday at the Smart Araneta Colesium at 10 a.m. UE also takes on Ateneo on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre at 8 a.m.
NU (3) – Bagunas 14, Natividad 14, Gampong 11, Saura 7, Malabunga 5, Mangulabnan 2, Ogoc 1, Ancheta 0, Dayandante 0, Marcos (L)
UE (0) – Camposano 15, Abrot 10, Ortega 5, Gopio 3, Alba 2, Yen Cheung 2, Adviento 1, Imperial 1, Magdaong 0, Inoferio (L), Pron (L)