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Bulldogs quell Falcons to enter Finals


Getting over their floor problematic ball control, the National University Bulldogs entered the UAAP Finals for the fourth straight time with a rousing four-set win 19-25, 25-20, 25-20, 25-23 at the SM MoA Arena.

Working off the momentum they built last Sunday, Adamson continued to work hard in floor defense and stifle the Bulldogs. Still the Bulldogs managed to trim a five-point Adamson lead down to one, 18-19. But the Falcons regrouped quickly, finishing the set with a 6-2 flourish. The Falcons again put the Bulldogs through the ringer in the second set, taking a 14-9 lead. But the Bulldogs rallied back behind the strong attacking of their young attackers. NU scored 12 of the next 14 points to bury the Falcons in a 21-16 hole and take the set.

Tragedy struck for the Falcons in the third set as setter Nico Ramirez careened into the announcer’s table and injured his left shoulder. At that point, the Falcons lost grip of 12-9 lead and trailed to as much as six, 14-20. NU wound up taking the set and dominating half of the fourth set. Behind 12-16, Adamson made a gallant stand as replacement setter Bryan Saraza got into his groove. Varying his sets, Saraza led Adamson back into a 21-18 lead. After a timeout, NU tied the match at 21 through tremendous blocking. After trading points, the Bulldogs sealed the set with a block on Mike Sudaria.

“Buti na lang natapos namin kasi binigyan na nga kami ng Adamson ng pagkakataon, hidinpa rin namin kinukuha,” said NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin. “Kailangan namin ayusin yung mga pagkakamali namin kasi hindi kami pagbibigyan ng Ateneo ng ganoong pagkakataon.”

#ReadMore  Bulldogs march to Finals; Tamaraws eliminate Blue Eagles

All five NU Spikers contributed significantly with rookie wunderkind James Natividad scoring 15, sophomore Bryan Bagunas adding 14, fourth-year middle blocker Ruben Baysac managing 13, and sophomores Madz Gampong and Kim Malabunga going 12 and 11 respectively.

This was the closest Adamson came to their first Finals appearance since 1985. Middle hitters Dave Pletado and Pao Pablico did most of the damage, recording 14 points each. Bryan Saraza played his last UAAP match, recording four points and 20 excellent sets.

The Finals between NU and Ateneo begin on Saturday, 12 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. This is the third time both squads will meet in the Finals with NU winning on Season 76 while Ateneo taking Season 77.

The Scores

NU (3) – Natividad 15, Bagunas 14, Baysac 13, Gampong 12, Malabunga 11, Mangulabnan 1, Ancheta 0, Marcos (L)

AdU (1) – Pletado 14, Pablico 14, Sudaria 11, Sarmiento 10, Saraza 4, Yude 4, Ramirez 1, Consunji 0, Melgar (L), Mendiolla (L)

Written By

Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.


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