UAAP 80 VOLLEYBALL: Bagunas, Ismail power NU to opening day win

Bagunas, Ismail power NU to opening day win
National team standout Bryan Bagunas hammered 16 points to fuel National University's opening day sweep of Adamson University.

National University played rusty the entire match but still managed to get rid of the pesky Adamson side in straight sets, 25-23, 25-19, 25-20, to open its campaign in the 80th UAAP men’s volleyball tournament on a high note Saturday at the MOA Arena.

The Bulldogs needed the steady plays of national team standout Bryan Bagunas and hitters Fauzi Ismail and Kim Malabunga down the stretch to pull away from a tight battle against the determined Falcons in each frames.

Bagunas smashed 14 attacks to highlight his 16-point outing while Ismail filled up the stat box with his all-around game, scoring 14 points on eight kills, three aces and three kill blocks he spiked with four digs and four excellent receptions for NU, which is looking to end a three-year title drought. Malabunga chipped in 10 points.

It was a sluggish season-opener for the Bulldogs especially in the opening set when Adamson gave them a scare, taking a 23-22 lead. Ismail equalized with a hit at the middle before Bagunas sealed the set win with a kill block and a crosscourt hit.

The Falcons, who lost four of its main scorers after last season to graduation, again gave NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin a headache in the second set, keeping the game tight before fading away in the closing stretch with the more experienced Bulldogs firing crushing attacks to create a separation.

With momentum already on NU’s side, the Bulldogs were able to take control of the last frame to seal the victory in 76 minutes.

Skipper Philip Yude was the lone player on Adamson side to score in double-figures with 13 while Paolo Pablico and Leo Miranda combined for 16 points.

 

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