MANILA—Bryan Bagunas and James Natividad retrieved gold for National University, as the pair denied University of Santo Tomas back-to-back titles after winning 21-15, 14-21, 15-13 to cart away the UAAP Season 80 men’s beach volleyball crown Saturday.
After missing the championship last year, Bagunas paced NU in staging a massive comeback in the finals after UST grabbed Game 1, 22-20, 26-24.
The Bulldogs then forced a do-or-die match by taking Game 2, 21-19, 9-21 and 15-10.
Bagunas, hailed as the season's most valuable player, poured in 7 points in the deciding frame including the title-clinching attack.
This is the first beach volleyball title by the Bulldogs since Season 77.
Tied at 11, Bagunas hammered an attack then Anthony Arbasto committed a hitting error to give NU a 13-11 lead in the third set.
Arbasto regained the point with a clean spike but Natividad scored in the ensuing play to put his team at championship point, 14-12.
"Pinag-usapan lang namin ni James iyong mga paghihirap namin na pinagdaanan," said Bagunas, who also claimed his first UAAP title. "Sobrang saya kasi may maiaambag na ako sa school namin."
Down by a set, UST rallied in the second set, building a 13-7 cushion after back-to-back aces by Arbasto.
NU also gave away a barrage of free points to find itself behind in the set, 18-10.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)