MANILA, Philippines – National University dodged a bullet as it escaped upset-minded De La Salle, 21-25, 22-25, 25-18, 26-24, 15-5, Sunday in the UAAP Season 75 men’s volleyball tournament at the Arena in San Juan.
Jan Berlin Paglinawan pumped in 25 points to help the Bulldogs avoid a second straight setback for a league-leading 9-1 record.
“Coming off a loss, they were so eager to play,” said NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin. “Nagkanya-kanya sila in the first two sets.”
“Buti na lang naka-adjust kami with our sets,” he added.
Coming into their senses, the Bulldogs rediscovered their form just in time behind Paglinawan and Rueben Inaudito.
Peter Torres and Reyson Fuentes shook off their poor start as they came alive in the final two sets.
NU trailed, 21-23, in the fourth set as La Salle looked for the finish but the Green Spikers botched their chances with two costly errors with the Bulldogs able to capitalized.
Fuentes denied Chris Antonio’s attempt to knot the count at 24 before Brendos Santos’ set was too strong and La Salle’s block went out that forged the deciding fifth set.
It was all NU in the final set as La Salle seemed it ran out of steam.
Antonio scored to cut NU’s lead to one, 2-3, but that was the closest La Salle came as the Bulldogs proved to be too much in the end.
Paglinawan made it, 6-2, before Inaudito sent Red Christensen’s spike back and and an unforced error pushed NU’s gap to six, 8-2.
Inaudito added 16 points while Fuentes and Torres added 14 and 10 respectively. Fuentes and Paglinawan had five blocks apiece.
The Green Spikers, who were led by Antonio’s 19 points, dropped to 5-5. Christensen chipped in 15 markers, including a hit late in the fourth set that pushed La Salle to within a point of pulling off the upset, 24-23.