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NUNS nears UAAP boys’ volley crown after game 1 win against UE

Photo courtesy of UAAP

Game Thursday:

Filoil EcoOil Centre
12:30 p.m. – Individual Awards for Boys’
1 p.m. – NUNS vs UE (Boys’ Finals Game 2)
(NU leads series 1-0)

National University Nazareth School took the series opener against University of the East, 39-37, 26-24 22-25, 25-21 in the best-of-three UAAP Season 86 High School Boys’ Volleyball Finals on Tuesday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.

The Bullpups ground it out from a lung-busting first set and rebounded from a third-set loss to move on the cusp of winning their first crown since UAAP Season 82 (2019-20).

NUNS will be gunning for its fifth title overall in Game 2 on Thursday at 1 p.m. at the San Juan arena.

“Well sa ensayo namin, lagi naming sinasabi at nireremind na walang bibigay at nangyrai kanina ‘yun. Kasi may mga pagkakataon na bumibigay sila pero hanggang sa huli kinapitan nila. At ‘yun ‘yung naging break namin,” said Bullpups head coach Edgar Barroga.

After giving up the third set to Jan Macam and the rest of the UE side, NUNS pulled away in the fourth set using an 11-7 advantage courtesy of a service ace for captain Jeffe Gallego Jr. Macam, though, reeled the Junior Warriors in the fightback to cut the lead to three, 12-15, forcing Barroga to call for time.

Season 85 Best Middle Blocker Migs Egger found his touch in the middle for the Bullpups before Matthew Abut fired off back-to-back kills to end the two-hour-and-15-minute marathon in favor of the Gold and Blue.

And for NUNS, it all started in that 44-minute first-set victory in the thriller.

Two consecutive booming attacks from Macam put the Junior Red Warriors at set point at 37-36, but the Bullpups pulled off three consecutive points to snag the said frame from the opponents’ hands. Abut and Dave Lardizabal sent NUNS to the final set point of the first before a good spell of defense forced Lance Babon to send his attack out.

“Naging buo lang ‘yung loob nung first six na kailangan naming manalo this season and kailangan naming paghirapan ‘yon. Good job kasi ‘yung tinuturo sa ‘min naging effective naman,” Gallego, the reigning Best Setter, said of the huge fight from the Bullpups.

With momentum on their side, Kobe Aca-ac provided the spark for NUNS in that second set, leading the defensive stance of his squad against Macam, Xyronne Montemayor, Babon, and the rest of UE. The outside hitter erased another deuce in the match — the first and only in the said frame — by a down-the-line kill from the left side and capped it off with a huge denial of Macam in the ensuing play.

The Junior Red Warriors felt that sense of urgency in the third set with substitute Karl Reyes helping Macam and Babon in steering UE to a set win.

The Recto-based squad took a slim 17-16, but used an 8-5 run to take the third — fittingly ending with another bomb from the middle from Macam — but it was all the Junior Red Warriors could manage.

The handing of the individual awards for the boys’ division precedes Game 2 of the Finals.

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