UAAP FINALS: Goal namin mag-champion -- Bagunas
Mark Escarlote on Apr 28, 2018 12:33 AM
Iisa naman ‘yung goal namin, ‘yung mag-champion -- National University hitter Bryan Bagunas
National University need not to look further for motivation in the UAAP Season 80 men’s volleyball best-of-three Finals against archrival three-time defending champion Ateneo de Manila University.
The Bulldogs for the fifth straight season are facing a familiar foe that they failed to dethrone in the past years since the Blue Eagles snatched the crown off their heads four seasons ago.
School pride will be at stake when NU takes on Ateneo in the series opener at 12:00 noon at the Big Dome.
The match will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA on SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD on SkyCable Channel 183 and via livestream.
“Iisa naman ‘yung goal namin, ‘yung mag-champion,” said Bulldogs top hitter, Bryan Bagunas. “Pati coaching staff, sumusuporta sa amin. Kaya lahat kami binubuhos na namin lahat kung ano yung natitira naming laro.”
Bagunas led top seed NU back into its sixth straight championship stint as he dropped 29 points to brush off University of Sto. Tomas in straight sets in the Final Four last week.
The Bulldogs will have the advantage of a long rest but facing a team that steamrolled its twice-to-beat opponent in the semis will be a tough test for NU.
Stopping four-time Most Valuable Player Marck Espejo will be the Bulldogs’ top priority.
Espejo averaged 46 points per game in the semis. The heady power-hitter scored a league-record 55 points in a five-set escape over the Tamaraws to force a rubber match
He scored 37 in the winner-take-all duel as Ateneo advanced in the Finals for the fifth straight year.
The championship protagonists split their elimination round meeting.
Head coach Dante Alinsunurin will need to find way to beat a rival that NU has not beaten in the Finals since they completed a repeat back in Season 76.
“Kung ano yung pwede naming gawin para maibalik namin yung championship trophy sa NU, gagawin naming,” he said.
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