|The National University Bulldogs celebrate after beating the Adamson University Falcons in the Final Four UAAP Season 76 men's volleyball tournament. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE 2) Defending champions National University (NU) Bulldogs crushed the Adamson University Soaring Falcons in straight sets to advance to the finals of the UAAP Season 76 men’s volleyball tournament.
After a slow start in the first set, NU cruised to a 25-19, 25-19, and 25-17 victory Wednesday at the Arena in San Juan.
Reigning Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) Peter Torres spearheaded a balanced effort for the Bulldogs with eight points.
“Pinaghirapan talaga namin umabot sa Finals ngayon,” said Torres, who is expected to carry an even bigger load for NU now that it has been confirmed that veteran Reyson Fuentes is out for the season due to illness.
Adamson kept the game close in the first set, but NU soon overwhelmed them with a variety of attacks from different players.
The Falcons also shot themselves in the foot as they committed several receiving errors to give NU free points, while sophomore star Michael Sudaria was checked by NU’s strong net defense all throughout the game.
Reuben Inaudito had 14 points, Edwin Tolentino scored 13, and Berlin Paglinawan added 11 points for NU, but it was Torres who put the finishing touches on the victory with several powerful kills in the third set.
Sudaria had only eight points for the Falcons. Bryan Saraza also scored eight markers.
NU’s blocking took the Falcons out of their offense, as the Bulldogs registered 12 block points. They also had 36 attack points against only 25 for Adamson.
The Bulldogs will face off against the second-seeded Ateneo Blue Eagles in the best-of-three Finals starting Saturday.
Ateneo made it to the Finals for the first time in more than two decades after overhauling a two-set deficit against Far Eastern University last Sunday.
“Kailangan naming pag-aralan pa sila lalo at mag-focus kami sa blocking,” said Torres about the Blue Eagles.
Ateneo and NU split their elimination round games. NU took their first round encounter, but the Blue Eagles stunned the Bulldogs in the second round with a straight sets victory.