NU dethrones Ateneo, bags UAAP men’s volleyball crown

Beatrice Go

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NU dethrones Ateneo, bags UAAP men’s volleyball crown


(UPDATED) The Bulldogs bring back the championship to Sampaloc after 4 years

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The crown is back in Sampaloc after 4 years. 

The National University (NU) Bulldogs ended the Ateneo Blue Eagles’ reign with a 25-20, 31-29, 22-25, 33-31 Game 2 victory to capture the UAAP Season 80 Men’s Volleyball championship on Wednesday, May 2, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. 

The Bulldogs wrapped it up in 4 grueling sets to clinch their 3rd crown while spoiling the UAAP exit of Ateneo’s reigning MVP Marck Espejo and Best Setter Ish Polvorosa.

Finals MVP Bryan Bagunas led the Bulldogs with 22 points followed by James Natividad with 18 points.

Espejo exploded for 30 points off 26 spikes and 4 blocks to cap off his last game in the UAAP. Polvorosa made 34 excellent sets.

After Ateneo cut the lead to one in the first set, 13-14, NU pulled away again with a 5-point lead in a run that included Francis Saura’s back-to-back blocks, 21-16. Errors later doomed the Blue Eagles in the first set. 

Bryan Bagunas lifted the Bulldogs over the Blue Eagles, scoring 5 of NU’s 6 points midway through the set, 20-15. As NU was two points away from taking the set, the Blue Eagles made a 7-1 run to extend the frame capped by Ish Polvorosa’s block on Madz Gampong. 

Marck Espejo led the Blue Eagles in the last stretch as he scored 3 points that helped extend the set. But the reigning MVP made a crucial service error that gave NU its 4th set point and Gampong’s block on Espejo made it a 2-0 lead. 

Ateneo made a statement with a 6-point lead early in the set that dictated the match, 13-7. After NU cut the deficit to one, Espejo lifted the Blue Eagles to a comfortable 3-point cushion. 

A double contact error by NU gifted the set point to the Blue Eagles that was followed by Bagunas’ attack. Ron Medalla sealed the 3rd set for the Blue Eagles. –


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Beatrice Go

More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine sports governance, national teams, football, and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.