by Kristel Satumbaga
National University continued to build its dynasty in UAAP men’s volleyball after capturing its second straight crown at the expense of Far Eastern University, 24-26, 25-23, 25-23, 25-19, on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
It was the Bulldogs’ fourth crown in history against a squad that has already amassed a total of 25 crowns.
Armed with a 21-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-18 Game 1 win on Saturday, NU did not waste the opportunity to capture the title early in their best-of-three finals series with Season Most Valuable Player Bryan Bagunas leading the way.
Bagunas exploded for a career-high 35 points including a crosscourt spike that sealed the win for the Bulldogs, earning him the Finals MVP plum.
It was a fitting exit for the graduating outside hitter.
NU coach Dante Alinsunurin was proud of his stalwarts’ accomplishment not only in the final round but also throughout the season.
“Masaya ako na umangat yung laro nila hanggang dulo. Nagbunga din yung mga ensayo namin before ng season (Their performance kept improving until the end. Our sacrifices before the season paid off),” said Alinsunurin, whose team trained in Japan in the preaseason.
NU was a lot more intense in the fourth frame, where it pulled away from a 20-19 lead with six straight points for the win as Bagunas penetrated FEU’s solid net defense.
Kim Malabunga chipped in nine points while Rookie of the Year Angelo Almendras added seven points.