MANILA – The National University (NU) Bulldogs cruised to their ninth straight win in the UAAP Season 85 men’s volleyball after taking down the University of the Philippines.
The Bulldogs eked out a 25-14, 25-18, 23-25, 25-21 victory over the Fighting Maroons at the Araneta Coliseum to remain unbeaten in men’s volleyball Saturday.
The Bulldogs improved to 9-0 and stretched their winning streak to 27 games dating back to Season 81. UP, on the other hand, stayed winless in nine games, putting them on the brink of elimination from the Final 4 race.
Nico Almendras had a game-high 19 points to go with 13 excellent receptions and five digs, while Malinis backed him up with 17 points, including a match-best six blocks.
Joshua Retamar dished out 15 excellent sets, as Buddin finished with 12 points, while middle blockers Obed Mukaba and Gerard Diao got nine and eight points, respectively.
Angelo Lipata and Louis Gamban pulled off back-to-back points for the Fighting Maroons with the former denying Kennry Malinis while the latter drilling an off-the-block hit, forcing a fourth set.
However, Buddin and the Bulldogs' blocking came alive in the fourth, fending off UP's rally from 18-24 down, to finish the match in one hour and 56 minutes.
"Sabi ko balik lang tayo kasi talagang tinrabaho ng UP yung third set talaga, although doon sa third set na yun kami yung nagkulang talaga," said NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin.
"Sabi ko nga sa mga players ko bumalik lang kung ano ang ginawa natin nung first at second sets, ituloy lang natin, at kailangan maging agresibo pa tayo sa ginagawa natin," he continued.
Gamban made 13 points and 21 excellent receptions for the Fighting Maroons, while Ranz Cajolo and Lipata produced 11 points apiece.
Both teams will return on April 12 at the Filoil EcoOil Centre, the first gameday after the Holy Week break.
UAAP Season 85 is streaming on iWantTFC every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, available for Premium users outside the Philippines.