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Revamped NU thrashes AdU for first win



The loss of nearly their entire starting six from last season had barely affected the National University Bulldogs in their opening match of the UAAP Men’s Volleyball Tournament.

NU’s new players picked where their seniors left off and dumped the Adamson University Falcons in straight sets 25-22, 25-22, 25-7 at the PhilSports Arena earlier today.

The Falcons started off playing their signature high-flying style. Meanwhile, NU counted on their tall blockers to mitigate Adamson’s assault. Adamson broke away with a 4-0 off NU’s errors. Trailing 10-14, Adamson’s errors let NU back into the game, allowing them to counter with a 6-0 run to immediately reclaim the lead. AdU stayed within striking distance through Bryan Saraza’s attacking. NU were forced to call a timeout, as their sloppy receiving led to errors that handed Adamson an 19-18 advantage. The Bulldogs recuperated after the break, blasting Adamson with loaded serves. The resulting free balls and aces stymied the Falcons and gave NU enough momentum to take the set.

The lead then see-sawed between both squads early in the second frame. NU rallied to the lead with a 5-0 run, 20-15, off their impeccable net defense. NU had gambled and optimized their lineup to have three attackers in the front line. But the change slowed NU’s offense enough for the Falcons to trim their lead down to two, 20-22, after their substitute setter, Kim Dayandante, was tagged with a setting error. Subbing back in their starting setter and opposite hitter, NU managed to escape the set with Vince Mangulabnan serving an ace to end the frame.

Adamson fell apart in the final frame. NU bulldozed through the Falcons, leading by as much as 16, 20-4.

Three Bulldogs reached double-digits — rookie James Natividad and sophomore Bryan Bagunas had 11 points each, while sophomore Francis Saura had 10.

“Bata pa talaga ‘yung team ko. Marami pa kaming kailangan ayusin especially sa mga error namin. Pero kita naman ‘yung kagustuhan nila mag-improve,” said NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin. His tall blockers managed a 9-1 block kills advantage, continuing NU’s tradition of strong play at the net.

Open hitter Bryan Saraza led the Falcons with nine points while middle blocker, Dave Pletado had six.

NU next face the De La Salle University Green Spikers on February 7, 10 a.m. at the FilOil Flying V Centre. Adamson have the University of the East Warriors next on February 6, 8 a.m. at the PhilSports Arena.

The Scores

NU (3) – Bagunas 11, Natividad 11, Saura 10, Gampong 9, Malabunga 3, Mangulabnan 2, Ogoc 2, Ancheta 0, Dayandante 0, Marcos (L)

AdU (0) – Saraza 9, Pletado 6, Pablico 3, Sarmiento 4, Sudaria 3, Yude 2, Ramirez 1, Mendiola (L), Melgar (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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