In a battle of undefeated teams, the National University Bulldogs made short work of the fiery National College of Business and Arts Wildcats 25-16, 25-14, 25-23 and remain unscathed in the Spikers’ Turf Collegiate Conference presented by PLDT Home Ultera at the FilOil Flying V Arena.
The match received much buildup since two former pillars of the NU Men’s Volleyball dynasty – Reyson Fuentes and Edwin Tolentino – are currently guest players for the Wildcats. However, the new-look Bulldogs seemed more than ready to face their former mentors.
NU knocked around the NCBA receivers with loaded serves. Their horrid ball control led to weak attacks from the Wildcats, which the NU defense easily turned back with imposing blocks, or handily dug by their back row players. The Bulldogs only faced real trouble in the final set when the Wildcats made a last ditch run to extend the match.
The Bulldogs quelled a frisky Wildcats early run and took a commanding 21-13 lead through impeccable serving. From there, the Bulldogs surrendered multiple errors mostly off attacks and net touches that allowed NCBA to slowly creep back into the match. NCBA eventually trimmed the NU lead to one, 23-22 but their own errors cost them the match with NU’s final two points both coming off net touches.
Sophomore, Francis Saura led the balanced NU charge with 11 markers followed by rookie, Bryan Bagunas and sophomore Kim Malabunga who each had 10 markers.
After the match, assistant coach Jessie Lopez expressed that his team is using this tournament more as an acid test for what his team still lacks. “Kung sasabihin namin na kailangan namin I-dominate itong liga na ‘to para makita kung malakas na kami sa UAAP, mahirap sabihin ‘yun. Maraming malakas na team tapos batang bata pa ‘yung mga players namin. If anything, mas ginagamit namin ‘yung mga laro dito para magka-experience ‘yung mga players namin at saka makita ‘yung mga kulang pa ng team namin.” Lopez took the head coaching reins for this game as head coach Dante Alinsunurin had to attend his obligations with the Philippine Air Force. Alinsunurin will be back next week.
The young Bulldogs squad held their former players to a measely six points combined. No NCBA player broke double digits with Lee Nidua and Paul Domingo only able to turn in six points apiece.
NU will loom to remain undefeated when they face the FEU Tamaraws on August 5, Wednesday. The 2-1 Wildcats look to get back on the winning track against the defending NCAA champs, EAC Generals on August 3, Monday.
NU (3) – Saura 11, Bagunas 10, Capal 8, Ismail 7, Dayandante 2, Mangulabnan 1, Gampong 1, Ogoc 1, Natividad 0, Marcos (L)
NCBA (0) – Domigo 6, Valenzuela 6, Oclima Cj 4, Canlas 4, Tolentino 3, Fuentes 3, Oclima R 3, Nidua 2, Escobido (L), Vicente (L)