NATIONAL University booked a fourth straight appearance in the UAAP volleyball finals, overcoming a tough challenge from Adamson University, 19-25, 25-20, 25-20, 25-23, on Wednesday at the MOA Arena.
Runners-up last year, the Bulldogs gets another chance topple the reigning champion Ateneo Blue Eagles. It will be their third title showdown.
The opener of the best-of-three series is set 12 p.m. on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Rookie James Natividad led the way for NU with 15 points, Bryan Bagunas added 14, Ruben Baysac chipped in 13, Madzlan Gampong had 12 and Kim Malabunga scored 11.
“Sa first set, hindi namin alam kung paano ang gagawin namin, sobrang aggressive ng kalaban namin,” said NU coach Dante Alinsunurin.
“Sabi ko sa mga players ko, dahan dahan lang, para ’yung pace ng laro maging kumportable,” he added.
Adamson won in four sets four days ago to force a deciding match and looked set to complete the upset when it took the opening set.
But NU found its rhythm in the second set and Adamson suffered a huge loss in the third when setter Karlle Nico Ramirez injured his right shoulder when he crashed on the sidelines while trying to save the ball. Bryan Saraza was sent in to set the plays and Adamson was never the same.
Dave Pletado and Paolo Pablico each had 14 points for Adamson, skipper Michale Sudaria added 11 and Jerome Sarmiento scored 10.