Bulldogs look burdened with adjustment for UAAP Finals Game 2
National U coach Dante Alinsunurin admitted being surprised at how Game 1 of their UAAP Season 85 men’s volleyball finals with University of Santo Tomas (UST) went.
“We were given a run for our money,” Alinsunurin said in Filipino, referring to a 25-23, 25-22, 21-25, 29-31, 15-11 thriller on Wednesday over the Golden Spikers that gave his three-peat seeking Bulldogs the head start in the best-of-three series. “We did not expect that. We just got by.”
And while his charges will be coming off a loss, and would be needing nothing less than a win at 2 p.m. on Sunday to stay alive, Santo Tomas’ Odjie Mamon sounded like he’s happy with what they’re facing.
“It was a learning experience and character building,” Mamon said, also in Filipino, as Santo Tomas continues to shoot for its first title since 2011. “There were certain points from the match that were just the breaks of the game especially in the fifth set. It could have gone either way.”
Alinsunurin and his Bulldogs survived Game 1 mainly because of unforced UST errors in the fifth.
“That’s around eight points against us,” Mamon said of their errors. “Hopefully, by Game 2, we will be able to correct it and could have a better result.”
National U hasn’t tasted defeat since 2019, a streak of 33 games that could have been longer if not for the pandemic.
That was threatened last Wednesday as Santo Tomas never lost heart despite losing the first two sets.
“[Their] setup was new to us. That’s why it took time for us to adjust but in the end, I saw my players’ composure and trust in each other,” Alinsunurin said. “I let them talk to each other in the crucial parts of the match and I’m glad they found a way to win.”