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NU seals historic UAAP men's volleyball 4-peat, drubs UST to sweep finals

Four-peat achieved for NU. Dennis Acosta
By Miles Arcenal

PASAY--National University successfully notched a historic four-peat title after dismantling the University of Santo Tomas in four sets, 25-21, 22-25, 25-17, 25-15, in Game 2 of the UAAP Season 86 Men’s Volleyball Finals on Wednesday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

This is the Bulldogs’ sixth title in nine straight Finals appearances since Season 75.

"Sobrang thankful kasi kita ko sa mga player ko na gusto talaga nilang kunin yung laro ngayon. Credit sa mga player ko talagang trinabaho nila to mula nung pumasok kami sa semis, disiplinado sa ginagawa namin araw-araw," said head coach Dante Alinsunurin, the man behind the NU’s dominance in the past years.

Season’s best setter and team captain Joshua Retamar was hailed once again as the Finals’ Most Valuable Player.

"Nakaka-proud yung team namin. Yung last na meeting namin, sinabi ko sa kanila na kapag nagchampion tayo ngayon magtutuloy-tuloy yan" Retamar echoed.

"Thank you kasi nandyan yung NU na tinulungan kami para makuha itong championship."

Sophomore Michaelo Buddin led his squad with 28 points through 22 attacks, five blocks, and an ace, while Leo Aringo and outgoing senior Nico Almendras contributed 22 and 20 points respectively.

The opening set was down to the wire, but Almendras and Buddin teamed up in the latter part to create a cushion, 24-21, with Peng Taguibolos ending the set with a power tip in the middle.

UST regained momentum in the second, powered by the attacks of season’s MVP Josh Ybañez, taking a 16-11 lead.

However, NU forced a deadlock at 21-all through Ybañez’s service error, but Sherwin Umandal stepped up with back-to-back attacks.UST then took the set after consecutive errors from NU.

Meanwhile, in the third frame, Retamar orchestrated the fluid flow of NU’s offense to take a commanding 20-9 lead, which helped them bring momentum heading into the fourth.

Bringing the rhythm from the previous sets, NU led by as much as 10 points, 22-12, edging them closer to their desired sixth tiara.

Almendras unleashed a cross-court attack that sealed the deal for the Bulldogs.

"Nagpapasalamat kami sa NU, kasi NU is walang sawang sumuporta sa amin. Yung sa sistema nila yun yung babaunin namin kung saan kami dalhin. Siyempre magagawa pa rin namin yung sistema na binigay nila Coach Dante na sobrang laki yung tiwala sa amin" said Almendras, the season 81 Rookie of the Year.

On the other side of the court, Ybañez top-scored UST with 24 attack points, while Rey De Vega added 15 points.

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