The defending men’s volleyball titleholders National University Bulldogs continued their dominance with another stellar outing in their 2015 debut with a 25-20, 25-13, 26-24 victory over UP.
NU improved to a tournament-best 6-0 record while UP dropped to 1-4 in their fourth straight setback.
The two teams showed a neck and neck start with either team locked in a defensive opener but Fauzi Ismail took charge late in the set with his critical attacks to pull away against UP.
NU’s defense made a mark during the second frame as it dictated their tempo offensively for a quick 12-point cruise over the rattled UP squad. Balanced scoring also helped as multiple Bulldogs contributed points to tire up UP’s defense.
The Maroons managed to bounce back and fight through the third canto but came up short due to NU’s late game composure led by the duo of Ismail and Edwin Tolentino. Once again, the Bulldogs’ net defense helped them seal the game and avoid a possible game extension.
Ismail led all scorers with 19 points, 16 of which came from spikes. Tolentino added nine with a game-high four rejections. Christan Dela Paz, Wendel Miguel and Fred Abuda had seven each for UP.
NU had a big gap in terms of spikes, 39-25 and blocked more attempts, 11-5. Despite the loss, UP’s floor defense was stellar with their 20 digs led by libero Juan Nicandro’s seven.
NU looks to sweep its first round campaign against Ateneo, in a rematch of last year’s finals on Jan. 11, 10pm at the Mall of Asia Arena. On the other hand, UP tries to snap its losing streak against FEU, 8am on Wedneday at MoA Arena.
NU- Ismail 19, Tolentino 9, Saura 7, Inaudito 7, Torres 6, Mangulabnan 2, Malabunga 2, Capal 1, Dayandante 1, Bagunas 0, Dizon(L) 0
UP- Abuda 7, Miguel 7, Dela Paz 7, Raymundo 6, San Pascual 4, Cabatingan 2, Hernandez 1, San Pedro 0, Nicandro(L) 0
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