After ceding the title for a single season, National University Nazareth School reclaimed the UAAP High School Boys’ Volleyball title on Monday.
The Bullpups denied the University of the East Junior Red Warriors in four thrilling sets, 20-25, 25-16, 27-25, 25-21, to take the winner-take-all Game 3 of the Finals at the FilOil EcoOil Centre.
This is the school’s fifth title in the event and its first for the season.
“Isa to sa sweetest kasi sa pinagdaan rin namin. Nung natalo kami nung Game 2, bumagsak kami nun. Kaya ginawa talaga namin lahat para matanggal ‘yung kumbaga malas,” said Bullpups head coach Edgar Barroga.
NUNS won Game 1, 39-37, 26-24, 22-25, 25-21, before bowing in a Game 2 marathon, 18-25, 17-25, 27-25, 26-24, 15-11.
“Lahat ng suggestion rin nila (referring to his coaching staff and players), sinubukan ko. Tinanggal ko rin ‘yung maging emotional sa game kasi may chance na ma-upset uli kami,” he added.
Gaining huge momentum for that third-set grind out, NUNS used a two-point swing from Season Best Middle Blocker Miguel Egger to take the lead at 20-19.
Lance Babon reeled UE into a comeback, but Matthew Abut and eventually Karl Lascuña proved equal to the fight and sealed the victory for the Bullpups.
NUNS had to put up its fightback this time as it handed UE the set advantage.
Putting in surprising starters in Yuan Mendoza and Kasim backfired, as it was the Junior Red Warriors that powered through the 21-18 advantage with captain Jan Macam leading the way.
From there, the Bullpups went to their usual six on the floor as Lascuña and middle blockers Egger and Dave Lardizabal eventually made it count.
Down a set point at 23-24 in the third, NUNS setter and eventual Finals MVP Jeffe Gallego Jr. found a red-hot Lardizabal. He then scored the three points that sealed the 2-1 cushion and set up the clincher.
Eight of the current members of the Bullpups played their last high school game, including playmaker Gallego, libero Sherwin Retiro, and Kobe Aca-ac.
“Thankful ako sa tiwala ni Coach Edgar kasi siya talaga sa team ‘yung hindi bumitaw. Kaya sabi ko sa teammates ko, ‘Mga pre, ‘yung coach natin hindi bumibitaw, tayo din dapat.’ Kaya ayan ang resulta,” said the graduating setter Gallego.