UAAP FINALS: Second round win fuels NU’s title drive
Mark Escarlote on May 02, 2018 04:58 PM
Isa din naman 'yun sa mga kinuhanan namin, kasi nakukuha na namin 'yung kumpyansa namin sa isa't isa, yung teamwork namin -- Finals MVP Bryan Bagunas on the importance of National University's second round win against Ateneo de Manila University that fueled their drive for the crown
For three straight years, National University has been on the losing end of its head-to-head matches against archrival Ateneo de Manila University.
NU needed just one win to turn the table around.
That elusive win came in the second round of UAAP Season 80 men’s volleyball tournament.
A four-set victory to end a 13-game losing streak was enough for the Bulldogs to change their fate and ultimately reclaim the title they lost three years ago and finally walk away with the title they last held in Season 76.
“Oo isa din naman 'yun sa mga kinuhanan namin, kasi nakukuha na namin 'yung kumpyansa namin sa isa't isa, yung team work namin,” said fourth year open spiker Bryan Bagunas Wednesday in NU’s title-clinching 25-20, 31-29, 22-25, 33-31, win Wednesday in Game 2 of the best-of-three Finals at the Big Dome.
“Kasi once na nagsalita ako sa kanila na, hindi tayo mananalo kung watak-watak tayo, kailangan solid tayo, kailangan mag-tulungan, nakita ko naman sa laro namin kaya a’yun, may kinalabasan talaga,” added Bagunas, who bagged the Finals MVP award.
Compared to the past three seasons, NU this year has all the answer to the Blue Eagles’ dreaded scorers led by five-time Most Valuable Player Marck Espejo.
The Katipunan-based squad defeated the Bulldogs in the first round but the Bulldogs equalized in the second round, 25-23, 21-25, 25-23, 25-19, to take the top seeding and send Ateneo in a twice-to-win disadvantage over Far Eastern University in the semis.
Looking tired and weary after two hard-fought games in the Final Four, the Blue Eagles were easy picking for the Bulldogs in the series opener.
Espejo tried to rally his teammates in Game 2 but even his 30-point effort was not enough to save the Blue Eagles’ three-year dynasty from collapsing at the hands of their bitter rivals in their fifth straight Finals meeting.
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