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After career season, Bryan Bagunas still surprised to be named MVP

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Tiebreaker Times After career season, Bryan Bagunas still surprised to be named MVP News NU UAAP Volleyball  UAAP Season 81 Men's Volleyball UAAP Season 81 NU Men's Volleyball Bryan Bagunas

The National University Bulldogs came and went with their leader and undoubted best player Bryan Bagunas in the UAAP Season 81 Men’s Volleyball Tournament.

Last season’s Finals MVP put up career bests all over the board. He also tallied a league-best 285 points in Season 81, 79 points ahead of the second-best scorer, Adamson’s Pao Pablico.

The Bulldogs flourished as Bagunas did, turning a 13-1 record.

After trumping the FEU Tamaraws in Game One of the Finals, NU are now just one game from a second straight championship.

Even if he was miles ahead of anyone else in the league, Bagunas still could not believe he will be named Season MVP in a ceremony set on before Game Two of the Finals on Wednesday.

After all, Bagunas started at the bottom of NU’s bench as a rookie in Season 77. The Batangueño then slowly improved his game, until he turned into a high-flying dynamo last year.

It’s this humble beginning that keeps Bagunas on his toes.

“Siyempre, sobrang saya ko. Hindi ko naman talaga ine-expect ‘yung ganoong bagay. Nagpapasalamat ako sa coaching staff and sa teammates ko,” Bagunas said, adding that he simply heeded head coach Dante Alinsunurin’s call for him to embrace his status as an ace.

“Unang-una kasi sinabihan na agad ako ni coach dati na kailangan niya ako ngayong season. Binigay niya ‘yung tiwala niya sa akin. Hindi ko na ‘yun pinakawalan. Binigay ko na ‘yung best ko”

Bagunas becomes the first MVP after Ateneo’s Marck Espejo won it for five consecutive seasons. Bagunas had seemed only a far second to Espejo through those years.

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Tiebreaker Times After career season, Bryan Bagunas still surprised to be named MVP News NU UAAP Volleyball  UAAP Season 81 Men's Volleyball UAAP Season 81 NU Men's Volleyball Bryan Bagunas

Still, Bagunas asserted that winning MVP this year doesn’t ‘validate’ him. He never needed any validation, anyway.

“Para sa akin wala naman ako kinailangang patunayan. Mas importante ‘yung championships eh. Kapag nakuha mo yung championship, habang buhay mo ng dala ‘yun. ‘Yung awards parance incentive lang naman ‘yan.”

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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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