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(C) Joaqui Flores/UAAP Season 86 Media Team


Nico Almendras hopes winning legacy passes on to next gen Bulldogs

Nico Almendras will leave National University the way he started – as a champion.

The decision to stay for one more year was all worth it, as the Bulldogs completed the job against the UST Golden Spikers in the Finals.

NU swept its opponents in two games for their fourth straight UAAP championship.

Almendras, 24, received his bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from NU back in 2022. However, he decided to play in the Season 85 tournament as the pandemic had reduced his playing years.

The pride of Talisay, Batangas, had his rookie year with the Bulldogs in Season 81, where they emerged as champions for the second straight year.

Almendras also bagged the Rookie of the Year honors.

However, his sophomore year was cut short due to the pandemic, and men’s volleyball was not played during the shortened Season 84.

In Season 85, he once again donned the gold and blue, leading them to a successful three-peat with a dominant 16-0 season sweep.

Then he faced a decision so hard it took months to make.

He did not play during NU’s participation in the 2023 V-League Collegiate Men’s Challenge, but returned to the Bulldogs’ lineup for the 2023 Spikers’ Turf Invitational Conference.

After NU ruled Spikers’ Turf, Almendras had felt undecided about whether he would play in Season 86.

Ultimately, he ran it back one last time with the Bulldogs in a way that he would not regret, making himself a three-time UAAP gold medalist.

UAAP-86-MVB-Finals-G2-NU-vs.-UST-Nico-Almendras-8920-1 Nico Almendras hopes winning legacy passes on to next gen Bulldogs News NU UAAP Volleyball  - philippine sports news

(C) Joaqui Flores/UAAP Season 86 Media Team

“Syempre sobrang saya kasi bago kami umexit ni Owa maganda yung iniwan namin sa NU,” said Almendras, who, together with Joshua Retamar, had their dream ending.

“Sobrang saya wala akong masabi basta sobrang saya namin.”

Poetically, it was the duo of Almendras and Retamar who made the championship point.

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Retamar set up the Almendras for the through-the-block hit that put half of the 17,000-plus crowd inside the SM Mall of Asia Arena in pandemonium on Wednesday, May 15.

The job is finished. And Almendras can confidently go on to shoot for bigger and brighter stars, knowing the Bulldogs are in good hands with Michaelo Buddin leading the way.

Almendras’ next step is to be a key contributor in the 21-man competitive pool that the national team coaches selected for Alas Pilipinas Men.

There, he will reunite with Bryan Bagunas and Retamar, among others.

“Siguro yung maiiwan namin ay yung maturity kasi iiwan namin sila na nakahanda pa rin sa kahit anong liga,” said Almendras, a champion in V-League, Spikers’ Turf, and UAAP.

“Madadala nila itong championship na ito pagdating sa iba’t ibang liga na sasalihan ng NU.”

Written By

Just a kid from Cavite trying to make a difference.

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