NU Bulldogs escape Ateneo in Game 2 to recapture crown in men’s volley

After three years of failed attempts, the NU Bulldogs have finally reclaimed the championship in the UAAP men’s volleyball tournament.

The blue-and-gold squad completed its sweep of the Blue Eagles after surviving a tough Ateneo side in four thrilling sets on the Game 2 of the Finals series, 25-21, 31-29, 22-25, 33-31, early this afternoon at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

James Natividad delivered in the clutch moment, scoring three points in the tail end of the fourth frame off a combination play, before Ateneo’s Ron Medalla gave the championship to NU with an attack error, 31-33.

The defending champions were poised to extend the match to a decider after winning the third set in convincing fashion, 22-25, and built an 18-15 lead in the fourth but the Bulldogs made a 4-0 run to retake the lead, 19-18.

Ateneo saved seven championship points, with Chumason Njigha and Gian Glorioso helping Espejo in the extension, but the Bulldogs refused to give up just yet and dragged the Blue Eagles to an intense shootout.

Veteran open hitter Bryan Bagunas paced the Bulldogs with 22 points built from 17 attacks, four kill blocks, and a service, to be hailed as the Most Valuable Player of the Finals.

NU opened the match with a 2-0 sets lead as the offense of Bryan Bagunas, Madz Gampong, and Natividad proved to be too much to handle for the reigning chmapions.