By: Ohmer Bautista
Rallying back from a two sets to one disadvantage, the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons escaped the slings and arrows of the De La Salle University Green Spikers, 23-25, 25-19, 25-27, 25-22, 15-12, in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference Men’s division at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Though they had a five-setter match in their very first game, UP head coach Hans Chuacuco admitted that it was beneficial for them in terms of shaping their character as a team.
“Right now, we’re building the character for the team. ‘Yung skill andiyan na eh, kaya kailangan team character, team attitude,” the UP tactician said. “Eto na ‘yung time for us na ma-execute kung anong program na meron kami. Good start para sa PVL.”
With the Green Spikers looking to close out the game in the fourth set, the Fighting Maroons then played with urgency, jumpstarting with a 19-14 lead. The Taft-based squad though inched within one after a 6-2 spurt, but a 4-2 closing run behind the exploits of Joshua Castillo forged a decider.
In the final frame, the Katipunan squad got off to a 11-5 headstart, but a furious 6-1 comeback from the Green Spikers got them within a point, 11-12. However, errors by the latter did them in, as the Fighting Maroons tipped the win to their favor after a 3-1 finish — incited by an Archers net violation and capped by Gian De Jesus service error.
Mac Millette led all scorers with 31 points spiked by four blocks. Castillo and Gian San Pascual added 16 and 12 markers respectively for UP.
On the other hand, Cris Dumago finished with 24 points in a losing effort. Geriant Bacon and John Delos Reyes chipped 12 markers apiece.
UP (1-0) will look to keep their momentum rolling as they take on the Arellano Chiefs (0-1) on Saturday, July 28, at the same venue. DLSU (0-1), on the other hand, will seek their first win against UST Growling Tigers also on Saturday.
UP (3) – Millette 31, Castillo 16, San Pascual 12, Consuelo 7, San Pedro 6, Gohoc 4, Enteria 2, Baldelovar 0, Nasol (L).
DLSU (2) – Dumago 24, Bacon 12, Delos Reyes 12, Reyes 9, Marco 6, Maravilla 4, Serrano 1, Llige 0, Balanog 0, De Jesus 0, Macaspac (L), Sumalinog (L).