UAAP VOLLEYBALL: NU reasserts mastery over FEU for share of lead

Mark Escarlote on Mar 10, 2018 01:40 PM
NU reasserts mastery over FEU for share of lead
National University climbed to a share of the lead after a five-set escape against Far Eastern University.

Bryan Bagunas poured 27 points but it was Kim Malabunga who took the spotlight with his match-clinching service ace as National University eked out a 19-25, 25-13, 24-26, 25-20, 18-16, escape over gritty Far Eastern University for a share of the lead Saturday in the 80th UAAP men’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

The Bulldogs grabbed their sixth straight win for a 7-1 win-loss record and climbed to a share of the top spot with archrival three-time defending champion Ateneo de Manila University.

James Natividad hammered a cross court kill to put NU at match point, 14-13, but Richard Solis answered with an off the block hit. Natividad scored on a down the line kill in the next play but gave the Tamaraws a chance to equalize when he overcooked his serve.

FEU’s Redijohn Paler and Fauzi Ismail exchanged service miscues in the succeeding plays that tied the fifth set at 16. Bagunas slammed a kill to give NU its fourth match point advantage before Malabunga scored his lone ace of the duel.

“Ini-expect ko naman lagi na ganito kahigpit ang laban,” said NU coach Dante Alinsunurin, whose wards handed the Tams their first loss in the opening round last February 28. “Lagi ko namang sinasabi na anytime pag nagkaharap kami ng FEU na may kantyawan, asaran. Kasi halos lagi kaming magkakasama nyan, minsan nga nagtu-tune up kami.”

Bagunas, who bannered the national team in last year’s Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games, uncorked 21 attacks with four aces and a pair of kill block spiked with 21 excellent receptions for an all-around performance for NU.

Fauzi Ismail scored 14 while James Natividad got 13 for the Bulldogs. Malabunga and skipper Francis Saura had eight markers each.

FEU dropped to 6-2 win-loss slate at solo third spot.

John Paul Bugaoan and Paler scored 15 and 14 points, respectively, while Raymond Bautista got 10 for the Tams.



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