NU's Jan Paglinawan attacks Ateneo's defense. Photo by Mark Crisitno for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines – Defending champion National University (NU) took Game 1 of their best-of-three UAAP men’s volleyball finals by beating Ateneo de Manila University in three sets at the Araneta Coliseum on Saturday.
The Bulldogs banked on championship experience for a 29-27, 25-22 and 25-22 sweep against the Blue Spikers, who made their first finals appearance in 1978.
Edwin Tolentino paced NU with 12 points on 9 attacks to go with his 3 blocks.
Tolentino is glad that the Bulldogs gained a 1-0 headstart against the Blue Spikers.
“Masaya at nakuha namin ito, binigay sa amin ni God ito,” he said during the postgame interview. “Hindi na namin pababayaan [sa Game 2], gagawin namin lahat ang makakaya namin.”
Ateneo head coach Oliver Almadro is expected to make key adjustments when they return against NU in Game 2 on Wednesday.
Almadro handled the coaching reins for NU two seasons ago when the Bustillos-based school started to strengthen its volleyball program.
The two teams met twice in the elimination round with NU winning their first encounter, 3 sets to 2.
The Blue Spikers, however, avenged the defeat two weeks later by sweeping the Bulldogs in three straight sets.