MVP Bagunas, Bulldogs make it two in row

Kristina Villanueva - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Bryan Bagunas was named Most Valuable Player before Game Two of the UAAP Season 81 men’s volleyball.

As the match progressed, Bagunas showed why as he towed National University to its second straight crown, beating Far Eastern U, 24-26, 25-23, 25-23, 25-19, at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay yesterday.

The graduating spiker quashed the Tamaraws’ last stand, scoring four of the Bulldogs’ last five points to secure the title.

Bagunas’ attack shattered the FEU’s triple block for the match point then he swung another kill to seal it.

He clenched his fists, raised both arms in the air, threw back his head and let out a roar. 

“I am very happy because as we, seniors of the team, exit, we made history. Our seniors (before NU’s back-to-back titles) exited without a championship. We just thought that we would not allow that when it is our turn,” said Bagunas, also named the Finals MVP.

Bagunas starred with 35 points, highlighted by 33 attacks, while also flexing his muscle on defense, tallying 12 digs and nine excellent receptions.

NU took the series opener, 21-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-18, last Saturday.

The Bulldogs put up an early 11-7 lead in the fourth but the Tamaraws fought back, seizing the advantage on a kill by Richard Solis for a 12-13 count.

But FEU fumbled at the service box, sending two long, even as Bagunas and Rookie of the Year Angelo Almendras rallied NU with their attacks to wrest the lead anew at 20-16.

Almendras, however, blundered then got denied by Peter Quiel, putting the Tamaraws close, 19-20.

But Bagunas just had all the answers in the homestretch as he scored on an off-the-block hit, jumped for a single block that followed a Philip Saura denial and wrapped it up with back-to-back attacks.

Notes: Bagunas also took home the First Best Outside Hitter and Best Server trophies while James Natividad was named Best Opposite Hitter. Jude Garcia was recognized as the Second Best Outside Hitter and John Bugaoan the First Best Middle Blocker. Ateneo got the rest of the individual awards as Chumason Njigha was handed the Second Best Middle Blocker plum, Lawrence Magadia the Best Setter and Manuel Sumanguid III the Best Libero.

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