Michaelo Buddin and the NU Bulldogs in the UAAP Season 85 men

Michaelo Buddin and the NU Bulldogs in the UAAP Season 85 men's volleyball. –UAAP PHOTO

Michaelo Buddin and the NU Bulldogs in the UAAP Season 85 men’s volleyball. –UAAP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Rookie spiker Michaelo Buddin introduced himself to the UAAP Season 85 men’s volleyball tournament, leading National University’s balanced attack to beat Ateneo, 25-23, 25-11, 25-20, and open their ‘three-peat’ bid on a high note on Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.

Buddin, the reigning Spikers’ Turf Finals MVP, made quite an impression in his debut as he delivered a game-high 13 points off nine attacks and four blocks to go with 11 receptions and six digs.

“ I’m not satisfied with what I showed today like in reception and passing. I hope I will be able to adjust in our next game since this is my first time playing at MOA,” said Buddin in Filipino.

“There is also a bit of pressure because people are expecting from me [after winning the finals MVP]. But I’m still new in the UAAP collegiate. Maybe next time I’ll get used to it and overcome the pressure,” he added.

The Bulldogs’ holdovers also shone as Nico Almendras chipped in 12 points, while setter and team captain Joshua Retamar paced the team with 16 excellent sets.

Transferee Ken Malinis was instrumental with 11 points and nine digs, while Congolese rookie Obed Mukaba solidified NU”s frontline, providing six of his team’s 16 blocks to finish with nine points.

Four-time UAAP champion coach Dante Alinsunurin was pleased with the performance of his team, despite the gallant stand of Ateneo in the first and third sets.

“First of all, I’m thankful to the UAAP for giving the men’s volleyball teams a chance to play again. I’m happy with our performance because we’ve been preparing for so long,” Alinsunurin said. “Although it’s just the first game, I told my players to do their best as a team.”

NU eyes its second win against Adamson (0-1) on Wednesday at Philsports Arena.

Jian Salarzon was the lone Blue Eagle to score in double figures as he finished with 12 points off 10 attacks and two blocks in his first UAAP game, while Amil Pacinio added nine markers.

Ateneo seeks to bounce back against opening day winner University of the East also on Wednesday.


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