MANILA, Philippines – The National University (NU) Bulldogs cruised to another dominant win over last year's Final Four team Adamson Soaring Falcons in straight sets, 25-21, 25-17, 25-23, on Sunday, March 8 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Nico Almendras spearheaded the Bulldogs with a double-double output of 16 points and 18 receptions. NU captain James Natividad backed him up with 12 markers.
Drawing strength from the playmaking of Joshua Retamar — who tossed out 16 excellent sets — the Bulldogs wasted little time cranking up their offensive machine to take a commanding 2-0 lead.
But the Soaring Falcons picked up steam after the Bulldogs coughed out a bulk of its 21 errors at the critical juncture of the 3rd frame.
Almendras and Natividad though refused to give way, nailing the differential hits that pulled their side out of danger for the win.
Ed Camposano and Berhashidin Daymil supplemented 8 markers each while Krisvan Ponti added 6.
NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin acknowledges the need to work on his team's error-marred performance, but also lauded his wards for maintaining their focus on steady execution at the net.
"Sana magtuluy-tuloy lang ang ginagalaw namin. 'Yung mga unforced errors namin, sa susunod ay [mabawasan] namin. Siyempre nagpapasalamat din kami sa galaw ng mga bata. Importante lang talaga ay may focus sa ginagawa," the national team mentor said.
(I hope we'll continue to roll on with the momentum and we'll be able to decrease our unforced errors. I'm thankful for the performance of the team. What's important is that they are focused on what they do.)
The Bulldogs dominated on all scoring fronts. They built a 41-35 disparity in attacks, 12-5 differential in blocks and 4-0 edge in aces.
For this, Alinsunurin commended his unit for a better showing this time around following a shaky outing in a four-set conquest of UST the last time out.
"Medyo 'yung communication tumaas 'yung porsiyento namin, 'yung block namin medyo nag-improve na and sa floor defense namin tumaas 'yung porsiyento," Alinsunurin said.
"Itong opensa namin dito medyo tumaas 'yung porsiyento, although last game talagang medyo mababa talaga porsiyento namin sa opensa. Sana magtuluy-tuloy," he added.
No Soaring Falcon scored in double-digit as Francis Casas and George Labang Jr. managed nine points each. – Rappler.com