MANILA, Philippines-National University cashed in on an erratic University of Santo Tomas side to win, 25-19, 25-21, 25-19, and move a victory away from sweeping the V-League Men’s Collegiate Challenge crown on Sunday at Paco Arena.
Nico Almendras unleashed 13 points spiked with 14 excellent receptions while Michaelo Buddin and Kennry Malinis backed him up with 11 points apiece for the Bulldogs, who are on the cusp of another championship after ruling the Spikers’ Turf last month.
“Our young guns played well. In the end game, we got what we wanted like our blocking, offense, and everything went well for us,” said NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin after his wards dispatched the Tiger Spikers in one hour and 17 minutes in the opener of their best-of-three title series.
UST actually trailed by just one just point in the third frame, but the fancied NU quartet of Almendras, Malinis, Buddin, and Obed Mukaba teamed up to put the game away, 24-17.
Josh Ybañez, however, came up with a hit and Jay Rack Dela Noche’s solid block on Buddin stalled the Bulldogs’ charge but the Tiger Spikers yielded the match point on a service error by Ybañez. UST gave up 27 errors.
The Bulldogs are eyeing their second title claiming the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference title by sweeping club team Cignal in the finals last October 1.
Dela Noche and Ybañez paced UST with 10 points apiece while Gboy De Vega chipped in eight markers.
NU goes for the sweep in Game 2 on Wednesday at 2 p.m.
“It’s important for us to stay aggressive. We have to keep working in practice and continue what we’ve been doing,” added Alinsunurin, who also handles the country’s men’s national team.
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