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NU squeezes past revitalized CSB to remain perfect in Spikers’ Turf



The new-look National University (NU) Bulldogs continued their rampage through the Spikers’ Turf Collegiate Conference, wiggling past the College of Saint Benilde (CSB) Blazers in four sets 22-25, 25-18, 28-26, 28-26 at the FilOil Flying V Arena.

The UAAP runner-ups have faced stiff competition in their past few games but have responded with the composure that they are going to need moving forward in the tournament. Facing fellow collegiate league runner-up, CSB, the Bulldogs faced stiff competition, surrendering the opening set after they have made an early lead.

The Bulldogs responded in the second set, limiting their errors while their setter, Vincen Mangulabnan marvelously distributed his sets allowing for an easy second set win. The following sets tested NU’s character the most this season. The third¬†frame had a steady back-and-forth between both teams that lasted to a deuce. NU controlled the action, claiming all the set points and finally claiming the frame off CSB’s errors.

The Bulldogs looked to have the match in hand as theh led 24-21 in the fourth stanza. The boys from Taft, however, mounted a comeback that forced another deuce and had them in position to send the match into a fifth set, 26-25, after a Ron Jordan quick attack. Sophomore open hitter, Bryan Bagunas pulled his team to the victory from there – rattling off two kills followed by a block that gave NU the nail-biter of a win.

Although his team nearly lost the match, NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin acknowledged the importance of winning close games for a team as young as his. “Sa totoo lang, natuwa ako noong nakakahabol saka lumalaban ‘yung Benilde. Hindi ko lang pinapakita sa mga player ko, pero sa tingin ko, ang laking tulong noon sa development ng mga bata kong player,” said Alinsunurin who also loathed his team’s service and reception in the match but was glad his boys found a way to work through their mistakes.

In his first start of the season, NU rookie Madzlan Gampong recorded a season-high 21 points to lead a balanced Bulldog effort. Sophmore, Bagunas dropped 14 poinys while Fauzi Ismail, Francis Saura, and Kim Malabunga had 10 points apiece.

Continuing his hot-streak, Johnvic De Guzman led his team with 18 points while open hitters, Racky Etrone and Isaah Arda each had double-digit performances with 14 and 10 points respectively.

The Bulldogs have an identical 5-0 record with the Ateneo Blue Eagles and are now assured of Final Four slots. CSB, after a rousing win over the EAC Generals, drop to 1-4 and will need to win their last two matches to have a chance a making the next round.

NU will face the DLSU Green Spikers on Wednesday, August 26 while CSB has the NCBA Wildcats on the same day.

The Scores

NU (3) – Gampong 21, Bagunas 14, Ismail 10, Malabunga 10, Saura 10, Baysac 1, Mangulabnan 0, Dayandante 0, Capal 0, Marcos (L)

CSB (1) – De Guzman 18, Etrone 14, Arda 10, Jordan 7, Deximo 3, Orian 3, Coming 1, Chua (L), Amparo (L)


Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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