June 25, 2024

No stopping destiny: Five lessons from UAAP Season 86 men’s volleyball tournament

No stopping destiny: Five lessons from UAAP Season 86 men’s volleyball tournament
UAAP men's volleyball saw a meteoric rise in Season 86. | Art by Mitzi Diyan/One Sports; Photos (c) RM Chua/One Sports

As National University continued its dominance in UAAP men’s volleyball, the Bulldogs' road to the four-peat was easily the hardest they’ve faced.

With men’s volleyball's growth on a meteoric rise, Season 86 was one of the most thrilling and exciting tournaments yet.

Here are some of the biggest lessons learned from the season.


1. NU’s championship experience went a long way

The NU Bulldogs may have faltered at times in Season 86, but in reality, no one could stop them once they reached the Finals.

Showing their dominance, NU dominated the University of Santo Tomas en route to the rare four-peat.

With graduating seniors Owa Retamar and Nico Almendras set to leave the Bulldogs, can NU continue its form in Season 87 and go for the historic five-peat?

[ALSO READ: UAAP: NU journey complete for Finals MVP Owa Retamar after 4-peat and graduation]


2. UST’s inconsistency doomed them from finally winning the title

The University of Santo Tomas was the only team to defeat NU twice in Season 86, beating the defending champions in their elimination round matchups.

The Golden Spikers have been carried by two-time MVP Josh Ybañez in the past two seasons. But if there’s anything they learned from this tournament, it’s that it will take a total team effort to bring home the crown.

After their historic run this tournament, will Season 87 finally be the year of triumph for UST?


3. FEU and La Salle were close, but not quite there yet

Far Eastern University looked poised for a Finals return after securing the top seed heading into the Final Four. However, as fate would have it, the Tamaraws succumbed to two straight defeats against the Golden Spikers.

De La Salle University, on the other hand, was seen as a strong challenger for NU during their virtual best-of-three matchup in the Final Four. But in the end, the Bulldogs prevailed again over the Green Spikers.

It’s now a matter of putting it all together for FEU and La Salle as they seek revenge come next season.


4. Ateneo was left with another ‘what if’ season

Ateneo de Manila University fell short of reaching the Final Four for the second straight season.

Some crucial defeats in the first and second rounds to teams they should have beaten ultimately doomed the Blue Eagles from finally returning to the semifinals.

Maybe the third time is the charm for Ateneo? After all, their stars in Kennedy Batas and Jian Salarzon still have plenty of years ahead of them.


5. Season 86 was an ultra-competitive tournament for UAAP men’s volleyball

UAAP men’s volleyball finally got the love and admiration it deserved from fans in Season 86.

Slowly but surely, fans packed the stadiums to watch the men’s volleyball games, and they were treated to some thrilling matches.

While it was still NU that asserted its dominance in the league, their road to the championship was definitely not easy.

Expect Season 87 to be even more competitive as all eight teams vie for the coveted UAAP crown.