With our without coach Dante Alinsunurin, NU still rose above expectations.
The youthful Bulldogs blanked more experienced La Salle, 25-23, 25-23, 25-20, for their 2nd straight win in the UAAP Season 78 men’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Arena.
Assistant coach Jessie Lopez said he’s been handling the team for the past 3 days, with Alinsunurin attending to family matters in Davao.
“Kahit sinong coaching staff namin na ilagay mo dyan, gagalaw pa rin mga yan,” he said. “Ganoon kataas ang respeto nila sa coaching staff.”
Lopez shared they prepared specifically to counter the deep crosscourt attacks of Green Spikers captain Raymark Woo, whom they limited to 4 points.
Even if they are a younger team, Lopez said he has confidence on his younger spikers.
“Kung bata ka at may confidence ka, kaya mo gawin yung ginagawa ng senior. Kulang lang sa experience talaga,” he added. “Malalaki lang yan pero bata pa yan. Siyempre lalabas at lalabas padin yung pagka-bata niyan. Pero makukuha padin yan sa training.”
It was the veteran plays of setter Vince Mangulabnan that utilized the power attacks of outside hitter James Natividad, who top scored for the Bulldogs with 14.
Despite being a rookie, Natividad admits that he is not pressured at all to be a go-to spiker for the Bulldogs.
“Wala namang pressure sa dami ko nang experience dati. Sabi ng coach namin na mag-enjoy lang at no pressure,” he said. “Focus lang. Pinanood namin ang game nila dati (against UE). Binasa lang ang lahat ng play nila.”
Natividad said the team’s mentality is to show no mercy to whatever team they will be competing against.
“Paghahandaan namin, pero no mercy. Sinabi samin ni Kuya Vince na kahit sino kalaban namin, todo padin,” he stressed. — By Arylle Magtalas