After sweeping the UST Golden Spikers in a shutout finals series, the NU Bulldogs have claimed their fifth UAAP volleyball crown.
The National University (NU) Bulldogs clinched their third consecutive UAAP volleyball championship by defeating the University of Santo Tomas (UST), 25-20, 25-21, 25-20, to complete a 16-game sweep of the UAAP Season 85 men’s volleyball tournament on Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
The Bulldogs won the finals series 2-0, ending the Golden Spikers’ hopes of extending it to three games.
This is the first season sweep and ‘three-peat’ in the UAAP since Season 79 when Ateneo de Manila University achieved both feats. UST also completed a perfect season by winning all 17 matches in the 2008-09 season.
Claiming their third straight victory also brings their collection of crowns to five, making them the fourth-winningest volleyball program, and extending their winning streak to 34 games, dating back to their second game in Season 81.
“Pumunta kami dito talagang nakita ko sa players ko na gusto nilang manalo,” said NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin.
“Credit sa mga player ko talagang tinrabaho namin after ng Game 1 namin alam namin yung lapses namin buti na lang itong Game 2 lumabas talaga yung gusto namin mangyari sa loob ng court and nakuha namin yung game.”
A commanding win
With just a three-point lead in the third set, the Bulldogs’ blocking came alive, registering back-to-back blocks. Nico Almendras sealed their four unanswered points with a crosscourt kill, securing a commanding 21-14 lead en route to the 25-20 clincher.
Almendras and Ken Malinis contributed two consecutive points for NU in the second set, a crosscourt hit and a spike off an over-received ball, securing a commanding 2-0 lead.
Bryan Buddin followed up his Game 1 performance with 20 points and 10 excellent receptions, while Almendras added 14 points.
This season’s Best Setter, Joshua Retamar, was named Finals MVP after delivering 25 excellent sets and five points in the first game, followed by 17 sets and two blocks in the final game.
Rookie MVP Josh Ybañez led the way for the Golden Spikers with 13 points but struggled with his attacks, going 12-of-32. Gboy de Vega also added 10 points, while Jay Rack Dela Noche was limited to just six points.
NU had to dig deep in Game 1 after squandering a two-set lead, winning 25-23, 25-22, 21-25, 29-31, 15-11 last Wednesday.
Images courtesy of UAAP Media.