Defending champion National University-Nazareth School moved one win away from back-to-back UAAP boys’ volleyball titles after eking out a 25-21, 20-25, 25-19, 25-18 victory against top-seeded Far Eastern University-Diliman in Game One of the best-of-three finals at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan Sunday.
The Bullpups look to seal the deal next Sunday, 10:30 am, at the same venue.
Michaelo Buddin led NU’s offensive attack with 17 points built on 13 spikes and four blocks while Arvin Bandola tallied 16 points and 11 excellent receptions in just three sets of play.
“Pinaghihirapan talaga namin ito bawat practice, kapag nagrerelax sila, nireremind ko sila, kasi may attitude sila na bumibigay eh, kaya pinipilit ko sila ngayon na focus lang sa ensayo in any ways, pati sa pagpapahinga, pati sa pagkain, nireremind ko sila,” said NU coach Edgar Barroga.
Bryan Jaleco added 12 markers, including the drop ball that iced the victory, MJ Fortuna chipped in 10 markers while setter Dio Poquita had 15 excellent sets and 10 digs laced with three points.
Bullpups libero Menard Guerrero protected the floor defense with 22 digs and 16 excellent receptions.
NU zoomed to a 10-3 lead in the third period and exchanged points with FEU throughout to take a commanding 2-1 set lead.
Bandola sprained his left ankle in the third set after landing on a foot of his teammate during a combination play. Barroga said he will be ready for Game Two.
Jerold Talisayan led the Baby Tamaraws with 18 points and 13 receptions while lefty Rans Cajolo chalked up 14 markers.