//Highlights
NU Clinches UAAP Championship After Dispatching UST

Redemption Complete: NU Dispatches UST To Clinch UAAP Season 86 Volleyball Crown

The NU Lady Bulldogs return the UAAP championship to Jhocson after shutting out the shorthanded, but gritty UST Golden Tigresses.

The NU Lady Bulldogs are UAAP champions once more as they shut down the UST Golden Tigresses 25-23, 23-25, 27-25, 25-16, in Game 2 of the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball Finals at the Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday.

Despite the victory, it was a tougher road for NU in Game 2. As early as the opener, the Lady Bulldogs allowed a late 7-2 run from the Tigresses to take a 23-22 lead in the endgame before Aly Solomon went on a personal 3-0 run to bail her squad out. 

NU would proceed to play catchup for most of Set 2, even allowing the Tigresses to open a four-point gap. Despite another Solomon-led comeback bid in the endgame, UST’s Jonna Perdido, Cassie Carballo, and Xyza Gula would score crucial kills to even up 1-1 in sets. 

The Lady Bulldogs looked on pace again to drop a set in Set 3, as they played catchup by three or four points to their España-based opposition.

However, NU would rally back late. Trailing by three, 18-21, two Aly Solomon kills and a UST net touch error would allow the Lady Bulldogs to inch by a single point, 21-22 after an Em Banagua point in between. 

A dogfight ensued afterward, with Belen exchanging blows with Perdido and Gula to eventually reach a 25-all deadlock. This proved to be the last of UST as Belen and Sheena Toring connived to steal the crucial set. 

In Set 4, the NU Lady Bulldogs pounced on a deflated UST as they cruised to another UAAP volleyball championship – their second in two seasons. 

Aly Solomon was named Finals MVP for NU’s run, which she accompanied with a game-high 27 markers. Bella Belen also exploded for 19 points, while Vange Alinsug and Sheena Toring added 13 and 10 markers respectively. 

Parang sinet ko lang kasi talaga ‘yung mindset ko na before ako maglaro na kailangan ibigay ko ‘yung best ko this game kasi...baka ito na ‘yung last game namin for this season. Parang now or never na talaga. Tapos kanina nung fourth set, parang nireremind namin ‘yung sarili [namin] na [mag] 100 percent effort. Parang doon nainspire kami na ‘wag tumigil gumalaw para ipanalo [‘yung laro],” said Solomon, who had struggled against FEU heading into the Finals.

For the Tigresses, it was spark plug Xyza Gula with 18 points off the bench. Jonna Perdido chimed in 14 markers of her own, while Reg Jurado and Em Banagua finished with 13 points apiece. 

Golden double complete 
NU Lady bulldogs championship: Owa Retamar golden double
(Photo Credit: UAAP Season 86 Media Team)

With the Lady Bulldogs’ victory, the golden double is now complete for NU’s volleyball programs. Just moments before, NU’s men’s volleyball team achieved their men’s volleyball four-peat after dispatching the UST Golden Spikers 25-20, 22-25, 25-17, 25-15. 

Budds Budin exploded for 28 in the Bulldogs’ closeout, alongside Leo Aringo and the graduating Nico Almendras who had 24 and 20 markers apiece. Graduating setter Owa Retamar copped Finals MVP honors, and capped off his UAAP career with 26 excellent sets for the Bulldogs. 

Syempre sobrang saya, kasi bago kami umexit ni Owa, maganda ‘yung iniwan namin sa NU, and ‘yung tinrain namin, lumabas naman. Sobrang saya, wala akong masabi, sobrang saya,” Almendras said post-game.

“Nakakaproud ‘yung team namin ‘yun ‘yung masasabi ko. Nung nagmeeting kami nung team…sinabi ko sa kanila kapag nag champion tayo ngayon magtutuloy-tuloy yan kasi madadala niyo yung pride ng pagiging champion,” added Retamar.

For the Golden Spikers, now two-time MVP Josh Ybanez led the charge with 24 points, while GBoy Dela Vega poured in 15. 

Banner Image courtesy of the UAAP Season 86 Media Team.


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