MANILA, Philippines – The National University (NU) Bulldogs proved once again that they have unlocked the secret to silencing the reigning champions Ateneo Blue Eagles. And it came in the form of Madz Gampong.
When Gampong made immediate impact in NU’s second-round elimination game versus Ateneo, it validated NU coach Dante Alinsunurin’s decision to field Gampong in the Starting 6. The move paved the way for the NU Bulldogs to clinch their first win over Ateneo since Season 76.
“Pagdating sa loob kay Madz, sa matchup medyo lamang kami sa [Ateneo], kaya pinush ko na siya talaga ang gamitin pag Ateneo ang kalaban,” said Alinsunurin.
(When Madz gets into the court, we get ahead in the matchup against Ateneo, that’s why I pushed for him to be a starter if Ateneo is the opponent.)
Although Bryan Bagunas topscored with 19 points, Gampong chipped in 11 points including 5 blocks. His blocking proved to be a key against Espejo as he was able to limit the Ateneo ace to only 16 points.
Gampong also switched positions against Ateneo as he took on the open spiker role instead of his usual opposite hitter position. Althoug it initially felt unfamiliar to be in the Starting 6 while playing a new position, he thinks it worked out due to the hard work he put in training.
“Siguro nakita niya na hindi ako nagpabaya sa training, kaya siguro sabi ni coach na ako na muna ang gamitin, para mas maganda daw kasi pag ako,” said Gampong.
(I think coach sees that I don’t slack off during training, that’s why coach said that I should be used as an open spiker because it’s better that way.)
The Bulldogs look to continue their winning ways in the second game of the finals on Wednesday, May 2, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Another win will hand them the championship that had eluded them for 3 years. – Rappler.com
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