If there are any doubts as to what the young National University team can do in the UAAP Season 78 men’s volleyball tournament, then its first outing should be enough to prove that the team remains a contender this year.
Despite losing veterans Peter Torres, Berlin Paglinawan and Ruben Inaudito, the Bulldogs still scored a convincing win Wednesday at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig, crushing Adamson University, 25-22, 25-22, 25-7.
For NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin, the game was nothing short of a show of force.
“For me, it just so happened that Adamson gave up after losing the first two sets,” he humbly said.
“I just hope the boys will continue performing at that level,” added the mentor. “We need to show the rest of the teams that we are still a contender by dominating in the blocking department.”
In perfect contrast, Adamson was bannered by veteran spikers like Michael Sudaria but their efforts were in vain as NU’s James Natividad, Bryan Bagunas and Francis Saura had a field day, combining for 32 points.
Even the defense of the Falcons was nowhere to be found, having only 5 excellent receptions in the entire match.
This, according to the NU coach, could be attributed to his wards’ new and improved serves.
“At first, I didn’t want them to do jump serves. I let them master first their ball contact,” shared Alinsunurin. “When I saw that they were already comfortable in hitting the ball, I already allowed them to jump.”
On using their service as their first line of offense, the coach adds, “It’s a big advantage for us because they are tall. They have a high ball contact.”
Looking up ahead the road back to the semis, Alinsunurin also gave his take on rival Ateneo, who swept UST during the opening festivities Sunday.
“Ateneo has an intact team. Whatever scenario you put them through, they tend to find a way to resolve it right away,” he shared. “My boys are young so I’m hoping the Bulldogs will be prepared for the matchup against the defending champions.”
The Bulldogs’ goal, at least in the first round, is modest to say the least.
“”We just need to gain confidence in the first round when we face Ateneo. Winning against them is not necessary. We just need to see that we can go toe to toe against them and we’ll go from there,” closed Alinsunurin.