The National University Bulldogs escaped a gallant De La Salle University Green Spikers in straight sets, 25-23, 25-23, 25-20 to earn their second straight win in the UAAP Season 78 men’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre, Sunday morning.
The Bulldogs struggled to get into their offensive groove in the opening set, committing errors that prevented them from pulling away. Behind Bryan Bagunas and James Natividad, the Bulldogs created a slim 23-21 lead. But La Salle’s Geraint Bacon scored two straight points for DLSU to tie things at 23. NU again went to Bagunas and Natividad for the set-clinching points.
National University quickly smashed the Green Spikers early in the second set with an 8-2 lead. NU’s errors coupled with Raymerk Woo and Ralph Calasin’s scoring helped DLSU get back into the set, trailing by just two, 14-16. La Salle was able to force an extended exchange of points and a 23-all tie. NU middle blocker, Kim Malabunga however unloaded a quick hit to give NU the lead while La Salle’s Arjay Onia’s attack error allowed NU to again squeak by.
Malabunga carried the scoring load in the third set, drilling kills that led to a 16-12 lead for the Bulldogs. Opposite hitter Madzlan Gampong took over in the latter part of the set to give National U a 23-16 lead, putting the match out of reach.
“Pinanood namin ang game nila last Wednesday. Nag-adjust kami sa palo nila lalo na kay Raymark Woo at inaabangan namin ang bawat atake nila para ma-block namin ang mga possible attacks nila,” said NU assistant coach Jessie Lopez. Lopez relieved for coach Dante Alinsunurin who took a leave of absence to attend to personal matters.
Natividad scored 14 points to lead the Bulldogs while Malabunga and Fracis Saura added 13 and 12 markers respectively. Team captain and National team setter Vince Mangublanan tossed 28 excellent sets
Calasin and Onia combined for 12 points for DLSU while Woo, who had 19 hits against University of the East last Wednesday, was limited to four points.
The Bulldogs (2-0) will next face the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons (1-1) on February 13, 10 AM at the FilOil Flying V Centre while the Green Spikers (1-1) will try to bounce back against the defending champion Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles (2-0) in the following day at 10 AM in the same venue.
NU (3) – Natividad 14, Malabunga 13, Bagunas 12, Gampong 9, Saura 7, Dayandante 2, Ogoc 2, Mangublanan 1, Ancheta 0, Marcos (L)
DLSU (0) – Onia 6, Calasin 6, Woo 4, Dumago 4, Jose 3, Bacon 3, Frey 2, Asia G. 0, Delos Reyes 0, Dimayuga 0, Marco 0, Movido (L), Asia R. (L)