UST yields for silver as NU captures UAAP men’s volley crown anew

2 min readMay 14, 2023

By Rob Andrew Dongiapon

(Photo by Phillip Josef Perez/TomasinoWeb)

What started as a mere possibility ended with the same supremacy.

After a gallant five-set stand in game one, the UST Tiger Spikers finished the second game on blanks, succumbing to the now three-straight champions and unblemished NU Bulldogs, 20–25, 21–25, 20–25, relegating to a silver finish in the UAAP Season 85 men’s volleyball finals, on May 14 , at the Mall of Asia Arena.

It was a fairly quick breeze to the championship for the Bulldogs, outplaying the runner-up Tiger Spikers in almost all departments to finish the game in just about 80 minutes.

In the series, the NU Bulldogs captured their 34th consecutive win and third straight men’s volleyball title, while the UST Tiger Spikers secured their highest finish since Season 74.

Season’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) Josh Ybañez topscored for UST with 13 points, while Gboy De Vega added 10, but it all went to naught as NU’s dominance proved to be too much for the Espana-based squad.

Michaelo Buddin fired 20 points on 18 kills, including six straight kills in the third set, that ultimately opened the floodgates for the Bulldogs’ rousing victory. Meanwhile, Angelo Almendras backed him up with 14 markers on 12 attacks.

Joshua Retamar dictated the tempo for the National U with 17 excellent sets, three digs, and two points. He outplayed UST’s Dux Yambao who eked out nine excellent sets.

Retamar, who was named the Best Setter of the season for the first time in his collegiate career, was hailed as the Finals MVP.

Contrary to game one, NU’s near seamless brand of volleyball kept the Tiger Spikers at bay throughout the game as UST only led thrice in the matchup — once early in the first set, and twice briefly in the second.

Yet, every time UST found themselves crawling to a momentum, the Bulldogs kept their championship composure, and never relented on the gas pedal.

Tied at 10 in set one, the Bulldogs overwhelmed the Tiger Spikers with three straight blocks courtesy of Obed Mukaba and Buddin, which created all the separation NU needed to take the first set.

UST stormed back on multiple occasions in the second set before errors and flimsy floor resistance cost the Tiger Spikers.

It was all Bulldogs from there as they zoomed to a quick early lead and never looked back.

Right before the match, the awarding ceremony for Season 85 was held where Ybañez became UST’s first ROY-MVP, while Jay Rack De La Noche nabbed the Best Opposite Spiker.

Parading a rookie-laden team this season, the Tiger Spikers have seven graduating players, from which two are expected to be pursued by their coaches.




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