Solomon Finals Alyssa Solomon and the rest of the NU women’s volleyball team jubilate after reclaiming the UAAP throne. UAAP photo

Historic Wednesday for NU Lady Bulldogs in UAAP

May 19, 2024 Theodore P. Jurado 129 views

IT was a historic Wednesday for National University’s volleyball program.

From being perennial also-rans, the Bulldogs have emerged as a modern UAAP power, as the women’s squad reclaim the championship it last won via 16-0 sweep in 2022, while the men’s team completed a rare four-peat.

NU ended the season with a sweep of collegiate volleyball titles, the first by any program since Ateneo, starring phenoms Alyssa Valdez and Marck Espejo, last did the trick in 2015.

The Bulldogs actually came one division short of an even rarer achievement — an event sweep as NUNS was foiled by Adamson in the high school girls’ Finals. The Bullpups, meanwhile, returned to the boys’ throne.

Alyssa Solomon and Buds Buddin were instrumental in NU’s golden double, as they put up a show in sweeping University of Santo Tomas in the Finals in their respective divisions.

Hours after capturing her second Best Opposite Spiker award, Solomon had 27 points on 20-of-37 kills, four blocks and three in the clincher as the Lady Bulldogs won their fourth title overall.

Solomon showed up in Game 1 to atone from her disappointing performance in the Final Four against Far Eastern University with 17 points, including three blocks.

“Siguro yung pagiging competitive ko ay lumalabas sa diwa na hindi ako papayag na ganyan lang ang ipakitang laro ng team ko, kailangan naming lumaban ng mas matindi,” said Solomon.

“Nakikita ko rin naman silang lumalaban para sa amin.”

A part of the NUNS core that went up to the collegiate ranks, including newly-minted two-time season MVP Bella Belen, Sheena Toring, Erin Pangilinan, Camilla Lamina, and Chams Maaya, a grateful Solomon is thankful from her previous coaches in girls and women’s division for what she is right now.

Babes Castillo and Regine Diego were part of the highly-successful Bullpups program, as well as Karl Dimaculangan, Norman Miguel’s top assistant to steered NU in ending a 65-year championship drought in 2022.

“Sobrang pasasalamat sa mga dating coach namin na nagbigay sa amin ng kakayahan na maging ganito kalakas, lalo na sa mga mahahalagang yugto ng mga torneo,” said Solomon.

“Yung hugot namin kanina galing sa mga dating coach namin na nagturo sa amin na magsikap mula umpisa hanggang wakas, 100 percent effort,” the Finals MVP added.

Suffering a fractured right hand prior to the season, Buddin had to sit out the Bulldogs’ first nine matches in the elimination round as coach Dante Alinsunrin is trying to keep his squad in the top two.

Buddin made it his mission to contribute to NU’s cause once he’s cleared to returned, and he did just that after coming up big for the team in their Finals rematch against the Golden Spikers.

Buddin was efficient in Game 2 with 15-of-30 kills and had nine receptions. He delivered a game-high 28 points on 22-of-40 kills, five blocks, and had 16 receptions in the clincher.

“Sobrang saya, siyempre. Yun naman talaga yung unang goal ko bago ako bumalik, yung makatulong sa team,” said Buddin, last season’s Second Best Outside Spiker.

“Siguro naman nagawa ko naman na ‘yung part ko, kasi nakuha namin ‘yung kung ano ‘yung goal ng team, which is ‘yung four-peat,” he added.

Finals MVP and Best Setter Owa Retamar and Nico Almendras, who are graduating as champions for the Bulldogs, are upbeat that Buddin will continue the team’s winning legacy.

NU became the first team securine a four-peat in men’s volleyball, last achieved by UST, spanning from 2008 to 2011. \

That’s a remarkable achievement for the Bulldogs, who are determined to extend their reign as they brace for the post-Retamar and Almendras era.

NU was on a happy mood as there were no classes yesterday in the Jhocson campus and NUNS in celebration of the school’s double championship in women’s and men’s volleyball.