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MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The National University (NU) Bulldogs flashed their fine form as they toppled the defending champions Ateneo Blue Eagles in straight sets, 25-20, 25-19, 25-23, in the UAAP Season 80 Men’s Volleyball finals on Saturday, April 28, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The victory put the Bulldogs within a win of a crown in the best-of-three finals series.
Bryan Bagunas lifted the Bulldogs throughout the match with 19 points off 16 spikes, two blocks and one ace. James Natividad took the reins in the last stretch of the 3rd set as he nabbed match point with a block on Marck Espejo, 24-22.
Espejo redeemed himself with an attack and cut the deficit to one. But his efforts were not enough as Kim Malabunga sealed the win for NU.
This is the NU Bulldogs’ first win in the finals since Season 76 when they last won the championship over finalists Ateneo Blue Eagles.
Espejo was limited to 16 points that saw Ron Medalla step up with 11 points.
In the first set, NU broke the stalemate and pulled away to reach set point, 24-19. NU closed out the set in its favor after Chumason Njigha made a block to cut the deficit.
The Bulldogs took the lead from the Blue Eagles midway in the set after John Rivera fumbled with a service error. NU rode on the momentum with a 7-1 run to silence the Blue Eagles as they took the 2-0 lead in the match. – Rappler.com