Behind a balanced scoresheet, the National University Bulldogs secured the playoff advantage in the UAAP Season 81 Men’s Volleyball Final Four after taking down the University of Santo Tomas Tiger Spikers, 25-20, 25-21, 25-9, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
NU padded on to their streak, winning their 11th straight match after losing on opening day to Far Eastern University. The defending champions know that the final stretch of the season is crucial, regardless of standings.
“Number one kami ngayon, kailangan patuloy lang na pataas ang lalaruin namin,” said NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin.
“Hindi naman sa elimination round namin makukuha ‘yung goal namin. Siguro, timing dapat na pagdating ng semis, maganda na gagalawin namin,” the national team mentor added.
The Bulldogs overwhelmed the Tiger Spikers offensively, firing five aces and tallying eight block kills. UST were limited to 26 attack points while NU went for 47.
Season 80 Finals MVP Bryan Bagunas and rookie Nico Almendras each provided 15 points for the Bulldogs. JM Natividad added 13.
Joshua Umandal was the lone Tiger Spiker in double-digits with 12 points. Middle blocker Jayvee Sumagaysay managed seven markers.
NU (11-1) continue their second-round campaign on April 24 against the University of the Philippines (1-11). UST (4-9) end their season on April 27 against the University of the East (2-11). Both matches will be played at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
NU (3) – Almendras 15, Bagunas 15, Natividad 13, Saura 8, Malabunga 5, Retamar 3, Gampong 1, Ancheta 0, Mondero 0, Marcos (L)
UST (0) – Umandal 12, Sumagaysay 7, Medina 5, Requinton 5, Buro 2, Corda 2, Casillan 0, Tajanlangit 0, Valenzuela 0, Mendiolla (L), Sawal (L)