BRYAN Bagunas took charge as National University survived a late meltdown to foil University of the Philippines, 25-13, 25-20, 23-25, 26-24, on Wednesday and stay undefeated in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference at the Arena in San Juan.
The Bulldogs suddenly struggled after two solid sets, losing the third and looked on the way to dropping the fourth as the Maroons moved within two points of forcing a decider on Bagunas’ attack error.
The UAAP Season 80 Finals MVP quickly recovered from that crucial miscue, scoring three straight points to give NU a 24-23 lead.
Joshua Castillo forced a deuce but Bagunas nailed another hit to bring back the Bulldogs at match point before Madz Gampong closed out the match and NU notched its fourth straight win.
Bagunas scored 22 points off 18 spikes, three service aces and a block, while also making 11 receptions and nine digs.
NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin sais he is impressed with how Bagunas has been balancing his participation in the PVL and his preparations for the UAAP Season 81 Beach Volleyball in September.
“Si Bry kasi sobrang kailangan nung bata eh. Ayoko naman pigilin kasi ‘yung bata talaga may chance na next to (Marck) Espejo,” Alinsunurin said.
“Ayoko pigilin ‘yon eh. Kaya naman niya eh. Nadidisiplina naman niya sarili niya na kahit nag bebeach volley siya, nag iindoor siya pero.”
Skipper Francis Saura contributed 16 points, while Gampong and Malabunga scored 13 each.
The Bulldogs joined UST Tiger Spikers on top of the standings with identical 4-0 win-loss cards and will face earlier winners FEU Tamaraws (2-2) on Sunday at 11 a.m.
John Mark Millette scored 15 and Nicolo Consuelo added 13 points for UP, which lost its second match in a row, falling into a triple tie at fourth place with FEU and San Beda University.
The Maroons try to bounce back on Saturday against University of Perpetual Help (1-3) at 11 a.m.