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Bulldogs escape Fighting Maroons in 5 sets to open second round

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The NU Bulldogs bounced back after dropping their last first round matchup against Ateneo with a win over the UP Maroons in a five-set thriller, 25-22, 25-19, 22-25, 22-25, 15-10 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The opening two sets were in favor of the defending champions as they dictated the tempo early both offensively and defensively. NU’s sets were on target as they seemed poised to close out the game early.

In the third set, UP managed to counter with successive attacks that helped them build a 17-10 cushion in the set. After an NU timeout, the Bulldogs rallied to trim the deficit to two. However, NU had eight errors in the set alone, two of which came in the late stages of the set, enabling UP to grab the third frame.

To start the fourth canto, NU rushed to a 9-3 lead early. The Maroons made it close after they went on a 13-6 run to grab their largest lead in the set. The Bulldogs were rattled as they showed miscommunication in their plays while the Maroons’ combination plays were on full display to extend the match to a deciding set.

NU had more spikes, 71-54, and also rejected three more hits, 11-8. However, UP committed less errors, 23-33, making the game a close one.

Reuben Inaudito led all scorers with 24 while Edwin Tolentino added 20. Wendel Miguel led the Maroons with 19.
With the win, NU holds a 7-1 record, sitting comfortably at the top spot in the standings. UP drops to 3-5.

The Bulldogs’ next assignment will be up against UST on Jan. 25 at the San Juan Arena while UP looks to get back to their winning ways against FEU on Jan. 24.
The scores:
NU- Inaudito 24, Tolentino 20, Ismail 15, Saura 8, Torres 7, Baysac 6, Mangulabnan 5, Bagunas 1, Dayandante 0, Tipay(L) 0, Dizon (L) 0
UP- Miguel 19, Dela Paz 15, Valbuena 11, Abuda 8, Raymundo 7, Cabatingan 4, San Pascual 2, Hernandez 2, San Pedro 0, Acuna 0, Nicandro(L) 0

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