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Once volleyball paupers, NU takes pride in having the sport’s best program in Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – National University won only two volleyball titles in the UAAP’s first 74 seasons, both from the women’s divisions. In the last decade, NU already quadrupled that tally with eight titles in both tournaments.

Once title-less in the men’s division, the Bulldogs had the biggest haul in a stellar ascend with six now, including a four-peat and counting as the rising Lady Bulldogs just clinched their second mint in the past three seasons for a four-crown harvest now.

NU, also with 11 titles in the girls and boys’ divisions in the last 10 years, arguably has the best volleyball program in the country today and make no mistake, the Bulldogs are just getting started.

“When I was asked to come back for this season, talagang firm ako doon sa decision ko na bumalik dito kasi yun nga, alam ko meron akong maitutulong para makuha uilt yung title,” said coach Norman Miguel in his NU return to replace Karl Dimaculangan, who towed the Lady Bulldogs to the Season 84 title and a Season 85 runner-up finish, after his last stint in 2020 before the pandemic.

The Lady Bulldogs’ second title in three years, behind Miguel and now assistant Dimaculangan, included a historic feat in 2022 to snap a 65-year title drought. Back in 1957, that was only their second title before doubling it a whirlwind.

Alinsunurin, for his part, is the architect of all NU’s six titles, but this last one might be his most challenging one yet in a magnificent run highlighted by 34 straight wins at one point.

“Ang focus talaga namin at goal namin ay ma-domina ang volleyball dito sa UAAP,” said Alinsunurin after getting some measure of payback on the heels of Choco Muchos’ bridesmaid finish in the PVL.

The Bulldogs, who recently produced Bryan Bagunas and Owa Retamar, and the Lady Bulldogs, who paved the way for the likes Jaja Santiago, Dindin Santiago, Bella Belen, Alyssa Solomon and Jen Nierva, expect to carry larger target on their backs in the years to come and they will be ready to defend and bite back every time.

“Every year parang iisipin ng mga tao, dapat laging contender. Every year syempre mage-expect sayo yung mga tao so we just have to embrace that pressure na talagang