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‘Lucky’ Bulldogs escape Tamaraws to clinch Final Four berth


For the fifth straight year, the National University Bulldogs are in the Final Four

The National University Bulldogs needed to dig deep to secure their eighth straight win, outlasting the Far Eastern University Tamaraws in three close sets, 25-21, 25-23, 26-24, Sunday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.

With a 9-1 slate, the Bulldogs secured the second Final Four spot, while the Tamaraws — a team that has yet to win in the second round — fell to a tie with the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons for third and fourth.

Fauzi Ismail and James Natividad towed the Bulldogs with 13 and 11 markers each.

“Sana magtuloy-tuloy lang sila. Kailangan nilang maglaro ng maayos kasi mayroon kaming hinahabol. Sana di sila magsawa,” remarked NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin about his two stalwarts.

With the game knotted at 24-all during the third set, Natividad was able to send NU to match point after a powerful spike, his 10th of the game. Kim Malabunga was then able to block Richard Solis to seal the win.

But luck played a huge part in NU’s win, according to Alinsunurin, as FEU’s 26 errors came when the Bulldogs were slumping during the game.

“Sana magtuloy-tuloy lang yung mga nangyayari sa amin. May kasama pa rin kasing suwerte e, yung tipong nawawala na yung momentum namin tapos nagkaka-error sila na crucial,” Alinsunurin furthered. “Pero sabi ko nga sa kanila, ‘sana next time hindi na tayo umasa sa suwerte. Dapat everytime na nasa court tayo, kailangan natin tumrabaho.'”

Ricky Marcos had 11 digs in the game to stifle FEU’s offense.

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Solis was the only Tamaraw who scored in double-figures with 11 points. Greg Dolor was limited to just eight markers.

The NU Bulldogs look to extend their streak to nine when they face the De La Salle University Green Spikers on Saturday, March 25 at 8:00am. The FEU Tamaraws, on the other hand, look to pick up that elusive second round win when they face the University of the East Red Warriors on Wednesday, March 22 at 8:00am. Both games will be played at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

The Scores:

NU (3) – Ismail 13, Natividad 11, Bagunas 8, Malabunga 7, Saura 6, Dayandante 4, Gampong 0, Ancheta 0, Marcos (L)

FEU (0) – Solis 11, Paler 8, Dolor 8, Camcam 5, Garcia 4, Bugaoan 4, Quiel 2, Silang 0, Suarez 0, Villegas 0, Bautista 0, Marmeto (L)

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