National University made quick work of De La Salle University, winning 25-20, 25-20, 25-16, to extend its run to eight victories in as many matches in the UAAP Season 85 Men’s Volleyball tournament, Saturday, Mar. 25, at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.
The Bulldogs extended their winning streak to 26 games, while the Green Spikers slipped to an even 4-4 record, at the fourth spot, and two games behind Far Eastern University’s 6-2.
Leading by just four points, 16-12, at the second technical timeout of the third set, the Bulldogs carved a huge 9-4 closing rally in this one-hour-and-15-minute contest, ending with a back-row kill from Michaelo Buddin and a successful middle attack from Kyle Ramones.
“Siguro dahil sa pinakita namin last game against (them), siguro nag-carry over lang ‘yong performance namin. Mas nabasa namin ‘yung mga ginagawa nila sa loob ng court kaya mas nakuha namin ‘yung dapat naming gawin sa loob,” Bulldogs coach Dante Alinsunurin said, referring to the two matches in succession against the Green Spikers.
The reigning back-to-back champions swept De La Salle just last Wednesday, winning 25-21, 25-21, 25-16, with Buddin leading the squad.
Captain Joshua Retamar took charge this time, ending up with 19 excellent sets that produced 45 scoring attacks from the Bulldogs. The erstwhile national team setter also added three digs and five points.
The Green Spikers and the Bulldogs battled in that tight opening set, but it was the errors of the former that helped the defending champions gain momentum and finish the first with a 1-0 lead.
NU then zoomed to an early 12-6 lead before De La Salle made a comeback toward the second technical timeout of the following frame. The Bulldogs settled for an exchange of points late in the set, as three wing attacks from Buddin and the set-clinching one from Kenry Malinis put them within a set of the win.
Buddin continued his rise with 17 points on 14 spikes, two blocks, and one service ace, including that crosscourt kill for the match point. Malinis added 13 markers on 11 spikes and two blocks.
De La Salle saw JM Ronquillo finish with 21 points, two of which came in a third-set run from the Green Spikers, while Noel Kampton added 13 markers in the losing effort.
The Bulldogs will try to stay undefeated when they face University of the Philippines on Saturday at the SMART Araneta Coliseum, while the Green Spikers will attempt to bounce back against Far Eastern University on Wednesday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.