UAAP Season 82: Bulldogs shake off gritty Golden Spikers
Mark Escarlote on Mar 04, 2020 11:52 AM
(Photo: Arvin Lim)
National University weathered a tough challenge put up by University of Sto. Tomas, 27-25, 23-25, 25-19, 27-25, on Wednesday to start its three-peat bid on the right track in the UAAP Season 82 men’s volleyball tournament at the MOA Arena.
The Bulldogs had some scary moments in the closing stretch of the fourth set before pulling through in their first game in the post-Bryan Bagunas era.
NU coach Dante Alinsunurin admitted that it was not the start that he wanted but still lauded his players’ defense in the closing stretch despite still adjusting to their new system.
“Bago kasi ‘yung naging sistema namin, yung opensa ng UST, tapos ‘yung adjustment namin mabagal,” he said. “’Yung first game namin medyo matigas talaga buti na lang nung bandang huli, hats off kami sa depensa namin.”
Sophomore Nico Almendras put matters on his own hands to save the day for NU, saving a set point, 25-25, in the fourth frame before Berhashidin Daymil put the Bulldogs at match point. Almendras, the Season 81 Rookie of the Year, put the game away with a sharp serve that the Golden Spikers failed to control.
Almendras had 20 points built on 17 kills, two aces and a block with 14 excellent receptions fot NU. James Natividad had 11 markers and seven digs while Owa Retamar tallied 21 excellent sets to help the Bulldogs hammer down 59 hits.
Transferee Edward Camposano announced his return in the UAAP after a two-year hiatus with a 19-point explosion for NU. Camposano, who transferred from University of the East, had 15 attacks and four blocks.
NU had a rough start and even squandered a 24-23 advantage in the opening frame as UST answered with two sa straight points from Wewe Medina and a kill block by Lorence Cruz for a 25-24 set point advantage. Krisvan Ponti forced a deuce before Medina committed an attack error. Almendras sealed the frame with a kill block.
The second frame was as tight as the first with the Golden Spikers took a 23-22 lead. A service error by Jhun Senoron tied it at 23 before Jau Umandal put UST at set point on a hit. NU was unsuccessful in its challenge in the last play as the Espana-based squad tied the match at one set apiece.
NU pulled away early in the third frame as momentum shifted to the Bulldogs' side.
Umandal paced the Golden Spikers with 25 points with all but one coming off kills. Senoron got 15 markers while Medina finished with 14 for UST.
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