ON THIS DAY: NU completes UAAP men’s volleyball title repeat
Mark Escarlote on May 15, 2020 02:23 PM
(Photo: Arvin Lim)
A year ago, Bryan Bagunas bid farewell to National University with a monstrous performance to leave a winning legacy at the close of his UAAP career.
On this day, the Season 81 Most Valuable Player, proved why he is one of the best players who ever donned the Bulldogs' jersey as he led NU to a second straight men’s volleyball championship.
With Bagunas at the helm, the Bulldogs showed their dominance after sweeping Far Eastern University in the best-of-three Finals series.
But the Tamaraws, who made their return in the Finals for the first time since losing to the same rivals for the Season 75 championship, gave NU a scare after a great start in Game 2 at the MOA Arena.
FEU stole the extended opening set.
But the then graduating Bagunas refused to be denied of a grand exit as flexed his muscle on offense to rally NU in the next three frames for a 24-26, 25-23, 25-23, 25-19, victory that handed the Bulldogs their fourth title overall.
Bagunas finished his tour of duty as a Bulldog in style. He carved out a career-high 35 points, highlighted by a very efficient 33-of-49 spiking clip.
He was the only NU player who scored ln double figures in the title clincher. Bagunas, who was named Finals MVP, filled up the stats sheet with 12 digs and nine excellent receptions.
The championship was extra sweet for NU considering the early challenges that they had to go through.
"Masaya ako sa pagiging champion namin, sa naging performance namin, umangat ng umangat pagdating dito sa Finals. Ayun sobrang saya lang sa na-achieve namin ngayong taon," said NU coach Dante Alinsunurin, whose wards won a historic gold medal in the ASEAN University Games before the start of the season.
The Bulldogs lost a veteran setter in Kim Dayandante after he was deemed ineligible to play just days before the start of the season.
With Dayandante out, NU had to rely on an untested rookie in Owa Retamar to orchestrate their offense.
The Bulldogs had a hard time adjusting to an inexperienced setter. FEU, which was their season-opening opponent, exploited NU’s weakness to pull off a shocking upset win in straight sets.
But Bulldogs were quick to lick their wounds as they won 16 straight games to grab their second repeat conquest in seven years.
WATCH THE GAME HERE: