UAAP Volleyball

NU survives 5-set UST challenge, nears UAAP men’s volley crown 

Philip Matel

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NU survives 5-set UST challenge, nears UAAP men’s volley crown 

WINNING WAYS. The NU Bulldogs celebrate a point against the UST Tigers in Game 1 of the finals.


The NU Bulldogs inch closer to a season sweep after outlasting the UST Golden Spikers in the UAAP men’s volleyball finals opener

MANILA, Philippines – The NU Bulldogs had to fight tooth and nail against a formidable challenge posed by the UST Golden Spikers before winning Game 1 of the UAAP Season 85 men’s volleyball finals in five sets, 25-23, 25-22, 21-25, 29-31, 15-11, on Wednesday, May 10, at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Buds Buddin, playing in his first collegiate finals game, fired 26 points, 24 from attacks, to power the unbeaten Bulldogs, while Nico Almendras added 18 attacks and 2 rejections for 20 points.

NU, aiming for its third straight title and fifth overall, will shoot for a season sweep on Sunday, 2 pm, at the same venue.

Trailing 7-5 after a quick by Rainier Flor, NU took advantage on a litany of errors committed by the rampaging UST side.

At one point in the contest, the Golden Spikers had four straight attacks that went too strong, giving the two-time defending champion a much-needed 12-9 lead.

With UST rookie Josh Ybañez hitting a down-the-line kill that trimmed the Bulldogs’ cushion to one, 12-11, NU leaned on Buddin’s backrow hit, Clarenz Belostrino’s service ace, and Almendras’ rejection to take the win, 15-11.

Ybañez ended the contest as the game’s highest pointer with 28 attack points, while Gboy de Vega added 19.

“The game was very exciting as both teams gave it their all every set, but we led a bit in the end,” said NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin.

“Although in the other sets, we faced problems on offense and fortunately, UST had unforced errors so we were able to keep pace in the third and fourth [sets],” he added.

NU was seemingly headed for a sweep after emerging with a 17-14 lead, but the Tigers outscored them 7-3 following an attack error by Almendras.

Ybañez and Jay Rack de la Noche, who arrived early Wednesday morning from the Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia, joined hands to force the fourth set.

The Bulldogs were also close to clinching the game in the fourth set, 24-23, after Buddin sent the ball through the UST defense, but De Vega responded to force a deuce, 24-all.

It was then an exchange of off the block kills and errors from both sides, before De Vega’s off the block hit and Buddin’s attack error tied things up at 2 sets apiece, 31-29. –

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