National University clinched its third consecutive championship by defeating the University of Santo Tomas, 25-20, 25-21, 25-20, to complete a 16-game sweep of the UAAP Season 85 men’s volleyball tournament on Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
The Bulldogs won the finals series 2-0, crushing the Golden Spikers’ hopes of extending the title showdown.
This is the first season sweep and ‘three-peat’ in the league since Season 79, when Ateneo de Manila University, led by Marck Espejo, achieved both feats. UST also completed a perfect season by winning all 17 matches in the 2008-09 season.
The victory gives the Bulldogs their fifth crown overall, making them the fourth-winningest program. Moreover, it extends their winning streak to 34 games, dating back to their second game in Season 81.
“Pumunta kami dito talagang nakita ko sa players ko na gusto nilang manalo,” said NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin. “Credit sa mga player ko, talagang tinrabaho namin after ng Game 1 namin. Alam namin yung lapses namin. Buti na lang itong Game 2, lumabas talaga yung gusto namin mangyari sa loob ng court and nakuha namin yung game.
“Sobrang happy kami kasi first time na mangyari sa NU na maka-sweep kami, makuha namin yung three-peat, and yung history namin na 34-game winning streak,” the decoarated head coach continued.
With just a three-point lead in the third set, the Bulldogs’ blocking came alive, registering back-to-back blocks. Nico Almendras sealed their four unanswered points with a crosscourt kill, securing a commanding 21-14 lead en route to the 25-20 clincher.
Almendras and Ken Malinis contributed two consecutive points for NU in the second set, a crosscourt hit and a spike off an over-received ball, securing a commanding 2-0 lead.
Michaelo Buddin followed up his Game 1 performance with 20 points and 10 excellent receptions. Almendras added 14 points.
This season’s Best Setter, Joshua Retamar, was named Finals MVP after delivering 25 excellent sets and five points in the first game, followed by 17 sets and two blocks in the final game.
Rookie MVP Josh Ybañez led the way for the Golden Spikers with 13 points but struggled with his attacks, going 12-of-32.
Gboy de Vega contributed 10 points, while Jay Rack Dela Noche was limited to just six points.
NU had to dig deep in Game 1 after squandering a two-set lead, winning 25-23, 25-22, 21-25, 29-31, 15-11 last Wednesday.