Games Today
(Mall of Asia Arena)
2 p.m. — NU vs UST (men’s finals)

AUTOMATIC finalist and title holder National University (NU) tests the mettle of stepladder survivor University of Santo Tomas  (UST) in Game 1 of the UAAP Season 85 men’s volleyball finals today at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Game time is at 2 p.m. with Bulldogs looming as the heavy favorite in the short best-of-three series after wiping out the floor against all counterparts in the eliminations, 14-0, to gain an outright seat in the finals and turn the playoffs to a stepladder format.

Included in NU’s domination was a pair of convincing wins against UST, 25-20, 25-19, 19-25, 25-21, and 25-19, 22-25, 25-18, 25-21 in two rounds.

NU coach Dante Alinsunurin said his wards look to capitalize on a week-long break to await the winner of the stepladder.

But the second-seeded UST boasts more than enough fire to defy the odds against the mighty NU after barging into the finals for the first time in 11 years through a tougher route.

The Golden Spikers, sans coach Odjie Mamon who’s in Cambodia SEA Games, had to climb the ladder with a 25-18, 25-22, 25-21 win over No. 3 Far Eastern University (FEU), which drubbed No. 4 De La Salle University in the first phase, just to gain a shot at the Bulldogs.

“We’re more than happy to be back after 11 years. We will compete hard in the finals,” said Gboy de Vega, who led UST’s win against FEU with 16 points. — John Bryan Ulanday