11 May 2019
By Ardyn Gonzales
The defending champions National University Bulldogs are on its way to clinching back-to-back championships after fighting off the Far Eastern University Tamaraws in four sets, 21-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-18, in Game 1 of the Finals in UAAP Season 81 men’s volleyball tournament, Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
NU had a slow start in the match as after losing the first set, they faced an 11-16 deficit in the second frame. With championship experience in their pocket, however, the Bulldogs slowly cut down the lead and eventually prevailed in the close set.
Momentum stayed in the side NU as they escaped the Tamaraws in the third set, before running away with the advantage in the fourth frame with a 20-13 cushion. FEU pulled off a late rally, but Brian Bagunas wasted no time as they took Game 1 for 1-0 lead in the series.
Bagunas powered NU with 18 points, while James Natividad and Kim Malabunga combined for 26 markers. The seniors took over and brought the Bulldogs closer to another championship.
Meanwhile, team captain Richard Solis tallied 17 points in a losing effort. FEU will have another chance in Game 2 of the Finals on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
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