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Bulldogs aim to stay hungry, humble


Staying hungry and guarding against complacency is the biggest challenge for National University when it shoots for a four-peat in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 86 men’s volleyball tournament.

Unbeaten in 34 games, the Bulldogs have been lording over the competition since 2019.

NU coach Dante Alinsunurin is confident that his men’s desire to win has not wavered despite the long winning streak.

“The UAAP season is another challenge for us. It’s important that we set a goal we want to achieve to keep us on our toes,” Alinsunurin said.

And that goal is to deliver the school’s sixth title overall and the league’s first four-peat since University of Santo Tomas won it all from 2008 to 2011.

“For me, we really need to have that certain challenge, that certain goal. Defending the crown is not an easy task,” Alinsunurin, who is also handling crowd-drawer Choco Mucho in the Premier Volleyball League.

“So I always tell my players, we have a challenge to face and we must always be ready.”

NU beat UST in the finals last year to complete a 16-0 season sweep — the first flawless championship run since Ateneo de Manila University did the same feat in 2017.

The Bulldogs remain as title favorite as it will parade an almost intact core.

Prized setter Owa Retamar and team leader Nico Almendras are back for one more year.

“Super thankful that they decided to return because we really need them. Based on our performance last year in the Spikers’ Turf, we really need Owa and Nico,” Alinsunurin said.

“I’m thankful I got to convince them to stay although they’ve already graduated from their studies. It really shows that they want to give back to NU.”

Aside from the duo, NU will also introduce a new weapon in Jade Desquitado.

“I’m excited for him because he’s a perfect fit to the team. He has a lot to offer. I hope he’s successful playing for NU,” Alinsunurin said of the Finals Most Valuable Player in the team’s 2023 Spiker’s Turf Invitational Conference conquest last December.

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