After breakthrough year, Aringo tipped to play bigger role for NU

NU Bulldogs beat UST Golden Spikers UAAP Season 86 men's volleyball champions

NU Bulldogs celebrate after completing a four-peat in UAAP Season 86 men’s volleyball at the expense of the UST Golden Spikers.–MARLO CUETO/

MANILA, Philippines — Leo Aringo rose to the occasion on the biggest stage to help National University earn a historic “four-peat” in the UAAP Season 86 men’s volleyball Finals against University of Santo Tomas. 

Buds Buddin did most of the damage to UST but Aringo provided the steady presence, averaging 18.5 points in the championship series to complete a sweep and keep NU on top of the collegiate men’s volleyball scene.

“Kuya Owa [Retamar] gave me a huge role as one of the go-to scorers. Before training, he told me that he would trust me and set a lot of plays for me,” Aringo told Inquirer Sports in Filipino. “It was hard for me to sleep when he gave me that responsibility but through the trust of my teammates and coaches without any hesitation in me in the finals, I always thought of kill attacks, block, defense and stay focused.”

READ: NU Bulldogs beat UST to complete UAAP volleyball ‘four-peat’

Aringo unleashed 22 points built on 18 kills, three blocks, and an ace to clinch NU’s title in Game 2 with a 25-21, 22-25, 25-17, 25-15 win over UST on Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.

He scored 15 points including three blocks in Game 1, earning the Player of the Game honor.

“It’s a dream come true to be part of this team and experience the ‘four-peat,’” said the opposite spiker. “We know that the first champions of NU worked hard and sacrificed a lot and we’re happy because we didn’t waste their efforts and we were able to keep [the dynasty] through our sacrifices for this historic ‘four-peat’.”

Aringo had a breakthrough year as a starting opposite spiker. Thanks to the trust of coach Dante Alinsunurin and his teammates, he was able to embrace and fulfill his bigger role.

READ: Dante Alinsunurin sculpts UAAP title after PVL shortcoming

“Honestly, I had a hard time this season because my game was on and off and I was like losing my focus. But I got through those challenges because of the trust of my kuyas (brothers), teammates, and coaches. They didn’t take me out of the starting six while facing those challenges and I didn’t feel that I was alone. They’re always with me,” he said.

As Retamar and Nico Almendras part ways with NU, Aringo is ready to step up next season with a bigger challenge, seeking to keep their dynasty going.

“Losing our seniors, who guided us since day one, would be hard. But they taught us to stand on our own. I believe that our teammates will surpass what we did this year next season,” Aringo said. “We will work harder so we can prove that our seniors were right that we can continue our championship run even without them since our coaches are still there to guide us.”

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