UAAP Season 81: Bulldogs top Blue Eagles to end first round

Mark Escarlote on Mar 16, 2019 11:14 AM
UAAP Season 81: Bulldogs top Blue Eagles to end first round
Rookie setter Joshua Retamar towed defending champion National University to its sixth straight win to end the first round on a high note. (FILE PHOTO)

Rookie setter Joshua Retamar drew praises from National University head coach Dante Alinsunurin after leading the reigning champion Bulldogs to a quick, 25-19, 25-23, 25-16, workout over archrival Ateneo de Manila University in the UAAP Season 81 men’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.  

Retamar orchestrated the fluid flow of NU’s offense as the repeat-seeking squad jacked up their winning streak to six straight for a 6-1 win-loss record to end the first round Saturday in a rematch of last year’s Finals series.

The freshman, who have settled down after a forgettable debut in the Bulldogs’ opening-day loss to league-leading Far Eastern University, tallied 26 excellent sets that helped NU convert 47 attack points with Bryan Bagunas accounting for the bulk of their spikes. Retamar added 10 digs and a point for an all-around game.

"Malaking bagay ‘yung setter namin," said Alinsunurin, also the national men's volleyball team coach, referring to the replacement playmaker after starting setter Kim Dayandante was deemed ineligible to play days before the start of the season. "Yung sistema namin, naa-adopt na niya. Nakukuha na niya. Nagiging komportable na sa sistema namin."

Bagunas wreaked havoc with 18 attacks in his 20-point outing while Angelo Almendras and James Natividad had 11 and nine markers, respectively, for NU.

Other than a tough challenge in the second set, the Bulldogs re-asserted its mastery over the Blue Eagles, who they dethroned last year after a three-year reign in Marck Espejo and Ish Polvorosa’s last playing year for Ateneo.

Russian-American Tony Koyfman led the Katipunan-based squad, which slid to 4-3 mark, with seven points while Ron Medalla and Chumason Njigha combined for a quiet 12 points.



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