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NU Bulldogs beat UST to complete UAAP volleyball ‘four-peat’

NU Bulldogs beat UST Golden Spikers UAAP Season 86 men's volleyball champions

NU Bulldogs celebrate after completing a four-peat in UAAP Season 86 men’s volleyball at the expense of the UST Golden Spikers.–MARLO CUETO/

MANILA, Philippines — National University conquered its toughest title quest to complete a historic “four-peat” in the UAAP Season 86 men’s volleyball tournament.

Behind Buds Buddin and Nico Almendras’ one-two punch and Owa Retamar’s brilliant plays, NU completed a Finals series sweep of the University of Santo Tomas, 25-21, 22-25, 25-17, 25-15, in Game 2 on Wednesday before an ecstatic 17,049 crowd at Mall of Asia Arena.

The Bulldogs earned their sixth overall title — all from coach Dante Alinsunurin, becoming the first team to win four consecutive championships since UST did it in 2011.

READ: UAAP men’s volleyball: NU sweeps UST, nears four-peat

But it was the toughest championship run as the men’s volleyball teams continued to reach another level.

“Ito talaga yung pinakamabigat maganda dito yung players nakita ko na gustong gusto magchampion. Sobrang thankful ako sa naging leadership ng seniors namin sa sitwasyon,” said Alinsunurin. “May mga naririnig kami na mahirap makuha yung ‘four-peat’ then pag last playing year mo na hindi mo na makukuha yung championship. Pero sama sama sila hindi lang sa game at practice pati sa dorm at sa labas kaya memorable itong championship.”

Nico almendras NU Bulldogs UAAP season 86 men's volleyball Finals

NU Bulldogs’ Nico Almendras during Game 2 of the UAAP Season 86 men’s volleyball Finals.–MARLO CUETO/

NU stumbled in the second set, allowing UST to tie it to one set apiece. But the Bulldogs, through their championship poise, were quick to get their acts together and dominate the last two sets.

It was a fitting ending for Almendras’ collegiate career as he nailed the last two points for NU. He then fell to his knees, feeling the fulfillment after hitting the championship-winning kill.

“Siyempre sobrang saya kasi bago kami umexit ni Owa maganda yung iniwan namin sa NU,” said Almendras, the 2nd Best Outside Spiker, after scoring 20 points and 17 excellent receptions.

READ: NU Bulldogs headed to UAAP volleyball Finals, eliminating La Salle

Retamar also finished his UAAP career as a back-to-back Finals MVP, dishing out 26 excellent sets on top of three points, believing the future is bright for NU even after they leave.

“Nakakaproud yung team namin. Nung nagmeeting kami sinabi ko sa kanila pag nagchampion tayo magtutuloy tuloy yan kasi madadala yung pride and momentum ng pagiging champion. Natutuwa ako and naeexcite ako sa next UAAP,” said the graduating setter.

Buddin unleashed 28 points built on 22 spikes, five blocks, and an ace, while Leo Aringo chipped in 22 points to seal the title in Game 2.

NU swept UST in Game 1, 25-17, 26-24, 25-19, on Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum with Buddin leading the collective effort with 16 points.

“Goal ko bago bumalik , makatulong sa team. Siguro naman nagawa ko naman yung part ko kasi nakuha namin yung kung ano yung goal ng team which is yung ‘four-peat’,” said Buddin.

UST, the first No.4 team to reach the Finals, settled for another runner-up for the second straight year with two-time MVP Josh Ybañez dropping 24 points and seven digs.

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GBoy De Vega had 15 points and 15 receptions, while Jay Rack De La Noche added eight points.

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