The UST Golden Spikers settled for silver for the second straight season as the NU Bulldogs won their fourth consecutive championship with a four-set victory in Game 2, 25-21, 22-25, 25-17, 25-15, at the Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday, May 15.

Despite sweeping the Bulldogs in the elimination round, the Golden Spikers only won one set across the two finals games.

A backrow hit by Michaelo Buddin and a conversion by Rwenzmel Taguibolos gave NU the first set, 25-21.

After a down-the-line hit by back-to-back MVP Josh Ybanez, 9-7, UST widened its lead to five via a 4-1 run, 13-8.

The Golden Spikers erased the Bulldogs’ second-set comeback attempt via an off-the-block hit by Sherwin Umandal and a net touch violation called on NU’s Leo Aringo, 25-22.

With NU leading by a point, 6-5, the Bulldogs mounted a 13-3 run capped by an offspeed hit from Buddin to bury the Golden Spikers down a seven-point hole, 19-8.

The Bulldogs had five blocks in the third set en route to a 25-17 victory.

NU continued its strong play in the fourth set with an 11-5 start, capped by a 1-2 play from graduating team captain Joshua Retamar.

The Golden Spikers failed to overcome its slow start in the fourth as a crosscourt kill by Nico Almendras placed NU to championship point, 24-15.

A through-the-block attack by Almendras completed the Bulldogs’ four-peat, 25-15.

Ybanez, who was crowned MVP for the second straight season, paced UST in the loss with 24 points, while Gboy de Vega chipped in 15 points.

NU was led by three 20-point scorers in Buddin (28), Aringo (22), and Almendras (20).

The Bulldogs outscored the Golden Spikers in the blocking department, 16-3.

Retamar, who finished the game with three points and 26 excellent sets, claimed his second consecutive Finals MVP award.

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