UAAP: NU sweeps men’s volleyball elimination round, books Finals spot after trouncing Ateneo
MANILA, Philippines—National University earned an automatic seat in the UAAP Season 85 men’s volleyball finals after sweeping the elimination round at the expense of Ateneo, 25-11, 28-26, 16-25, 25-23, on Saturday at San Juan Arena.
The Bulldogs improved to 14-0 and kept their overall winning streak alive at 32 dating back to 2019 in Season 81.
Despite securing a Finals berth, coach Dante Alinsunurin said there are still things the squad needs to work on before the last stage of their championship bid.
“For us, we’ll wait and stay conditioned for whoever gets there. Although, we have to do things in our program for our players to keep our players from being overconfident,” said Alinsunurin.
The Bulldogs dropped the third set, 16-25, but the final frame saw a more dominant NU squad pick up a 24-20 lead in the offing.
Ateneo, however, kept the door open with three unanswered kills only for Michaelo Buddin to shut the door for the Blue Eagles and give NU its eighth straight Finals appearance. Buddin finished with a 19-point performance.
After a first-set masterclass from NU, the Bulldogs were caught at a 26-all stalemate against the Blue Eagles in the second set.
A quick kill by Obed Mukaba and a net violation from Jian Salarzon gave the defending champions a pivotal 2-0 lead.
Kennry Malinis gave a clean performance for NU with 17 points while Nico Almendras finished with 12.
Kennedy Batas’ 32-point outburst was put to waste for Ateneo while Salarzon ended up with 14 to his name.