MANILA (UPDATE) -- For the seventh season in a row, National University will be playing in the UAAP men's volleyball Finals.
The top-seeded Bulldogs overpowered Adamson University in straight sets, 25-19, 25-16, 25-20, in their UAAP Season 81 Final 4 encounter on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena to punch their ticket to the championship round.
There, they will play Far Eastern University in a best-of-3 series in the hopes of winning their second straight title, and fourth in 7 years.
"Ito talaga 'yung goal namin, simula pa lang," said NU coach Dante Alinsunurin. "Sana, magtuloy-tuloy."
(This is really our goal from the start. We hope it continues.)
Kim Malabunga led the way for the Bulldogs with 17 points -- including 8 of their whopping 16 blocks in the game. Bryan Bagunas added 9 points, and rookie Nico Almendras and Francis Saura each had 7 markers.
It was a quick victory for the Bulldogs, who overcame a slow start to the first set to claim a comfortable win. In the second set, they pounced on Adamson's error-prone ways to claim the victory in just 19 minutes.
National U was on top, 23-15, in the third frame after a powerful crosscourt attack by Bagunas, when the Falcons made their final stand. Thanks in part to errors by Bagunas -- a mishit, a double-contact violation, and a misreception -- the Falcons scored 3 unanswered points.
Francis Saura stopped the bleeding and put NU at match point, 24-18, but a poor serve by Bagunas and a mishandled third ball by libero Ricky Marcos kept Adamson alive, 24-20.
That was as close as Adamson got, however, as the Falcons committed an error in the final rally of the match to send National U to the Finals.
Leo Miranda led Adamson with 11 points, but the Falcons simply had no response to NU's net defense. They also gave away 26 points from their errors.
The Bulldogs have now won 14 games in a row in Season 81, since dropping their first game of the tournament to the Tamaraws in straight sets.
The championship will be a rematch of the Season 75 Finals, when the Bulldogs won their first men's volleyball title by outlasting the Tamaraws in an emotional 3-game series.
Game 1 is on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.