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HomeSportNU sweeps UST, nears four-peat

NU sweeps UST, nears four-peat


NU Bulldogs beat UST Golden Spikers UAAP Seasonn 86 men's volleyball Finals

NU Bulldogs beat UST Golden Spikers in Game 1 of the UAAP Season 86 men’s volleyball Finals.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — National University inched a win closer to a historic fourth consecutive title after sweeping University of Santo Tomas, 25-17, 26-24, 25-19, in Game 1 of the UAAP Season 86 men’s volleyball Finals on Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Buds Buddin, who didn’t play in NU’s pair of elimination round losses to UST due to a fractured right hand, spelled the difference for the Bulldogs to get their first win over the Golden Spikers in their most important game of the year.

Buddin continued to sizzle with 16 points including the clutch back row attacks in the third set to lift NU on the cusp of becoming the first team to complete a ‘four-peat’ since UST, led by former setter Karl Dimaculangan, who is now the Lady Bulldogs deputy coach, achieved the feat in 2011.

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

“Actually, dumating ako sa point na parang hindi ako mapakali kasi sobrang excited ako na hindi ko alam bago pumunta ng game,” said Buddin, who also had nine excellent receptions. “Yung naging mindset ko na lang is sila kuya kasi kapag nasa loob ako ng court, lagi nilang sinasabi sakin na ‘wag kang manggigil.”

NU also leaned on seniors Nico Almendras and setter Owa Retamar, who had 24 excellent sets on top of five points including three blocks, Almendras chipped in 16 points, 19 receptions, and five digs, while Leo Aringo added 15 points.

Retamar NU Bulldogs UAAP Season 86 men's volleyball Finals

NU Bulldogs.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

“Sa naging performance namin syempre naging maganda yung naging resulta, siguro ito yung inaantay ko sa mga players ko na nagsabay sabay sila na maganda yung [performance], in terms of skills talaga, floor defense, atake namin, blockings namin. Nandito lahat,” said NU coach Dante Alinsunurin, who seeks to sweep the series on Wednesday. “Kaya nga sobrang thankful ako sa pagkapanalo namin ngayon sana magtuloy tuloy pa yung ganitong sitwasyon namin pagdating sa Game 2.”

READ: UST makes history as first fourth seed to make UAAP volleyball Finals

The Bulldogs needed to stave off the Golden Spikers in a tight second-set duel when Josh Ybañez saved two set point advantages, tying it at 24-all. Buddin stopped the bleeding with a massive cross-court kill. Ybañez answered with an off-the-block hit, which was initially awarded to UST but Alinsunurin’s video challenge was successful with the point deemed as antenna fault to earn a two-set lead.

The defending champion pulled away in the third set with Buddin’s back-to-back hits and Retamar’s clutch block giving themselves a 23-16 spread. GBoy De Vega and Paul Colinares tried to salvage UST, cutting it down to 24-19. But Almendras’ game-winning off-speed drew the first blood in the series.

Josh Ybañez led UST with 11 points as they fell to the brink of settling for another runner-up finish. Colinares and Sherwin Umandal scored nine points each, while De Vega had nine points and 20 receptions for the first No.4 seed to reach the men’s volleyball finals.



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