MANILA, Philippines – National University (NU) streaked to its ninth straight victory against Ateneo as Adamson picked up win No. 5 versus the University of the Philippines (UP) in the UAAP Season 81 men’s volleyball tournament on Saturday, March 30 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
NU, though, worked hard to keep its winning run going as the Bulldogs barely escaped the gritty Blue Eagles in a five-set thriller, 25-19, 25-20, 19-25, 25-27, 15-10.
The Falcons also had a tough time dispatching the Maroons, going through a couple of extended sets before forging a 25-21, 24-26, 25-20, 32-30 triumph.
Bryan Bagunas fired a game-high 25 points to power the Bulldogs, who stayed on top with a 9-1 card.
Nico Almedras and James Natividad also collected 18 and 17 points, respectively, for the defending champions.
Ateneo forced a deciding frame after a 7-2 rally that turned a 20-23 deficit into a 27-25 fourth-set win in the rematch of last season’s finals.
But the Bulldogs managed to snap the Blue Eagles’ momentum in the final set, wresting the lead at 8-7 before closing out the match with a 6-2 run.
Chumason Njigha scored 18 points while Ish Rivera had 10 markers and 30 excellent receptions for the Blue Eagles, who remained at 3rd place with 6-4 slate despite the recent slump.
Meanwhile, Paolo Pablico had a career-game as the Adamson captain sizzled with a 31-point performance, including 15 excellent digs.
Jadewin Gudoy and George Labang added 16 and 14 points, respectively, for the Falcons, who improved their record to 5-4, just a step behind Ateneo.
Four UP players scored in double digits as John Millete (16), Jerry San Pedro (12), Nicolo Consuelo (11) and Ruskin Ijiran (10) combined for 49 markers in a losing effort for the Maroons, who remained at the bottom of the standings at 1-8. – Leigh Nald Cabildo/Rappler.com