Ben Phillips finally made his UAAP volleyball debut on Sunday when De La Salle University defeated Adamson University in straight sets.
And he was steady during his run in the third set when the dual-sport athlete was inserted with the Green Spikers ahead by just four, 20-16.
After Noel Kampton threw his service out, Phillips made his first point – a quick kill off a perfect set from Dio Poquita – to make it 21-17.
The 6-foot-8 middle blocker was also able to try himself at the service line where he calmly served it in. It showed he still has it after six years of not playing competitive volleyball or since he suited up for Fairfield High School.
“Sobrang excited ako at sobrang nervous kasi hindi ko alam na papasok ako sa court pero as soon as sabi ni coach (Arnold Laniog), ‘Uy, pasok na!’ ‘Ha! Totoo ba?‘” shared Phillips, who was shocked when his number was called by La Salle head coach Arnold Laniog.
Phillips was one of the loudest supporters of the Green Spikers during their first five games, And when he entered the court for the first time in their sixth game, he felt just excited.
This is the third event he has participated in the league after also repping La Salle during Season 84’s 3×3 basketball tournament, where they bagged silver.
“I was just really excited kasi I am really working hard and I’m really thankful they take me in the family, the coaching staff has been really really helpful with my training so thank you to Coach Arnold and my ace here Noel (Kampton),” said Phillips.
According to La Salle spiker Kampton, Phillips’ dedication is superb as he still practices with the Green Archers even during the volleyball season.
Kampton also shared how he feels grateful to have Phillips in the team, who has a very high IQ on the Taraflex.
“Ben is a basketball player diba? So nagtre-training siya sa amin ng 1 to 4 then 4 to 7 sa basketball so iba yung dedication ni Ben,” said the Pepetual Help product.
“I keep telling Ben na you have a potential kasi sobrang talino ni Ben so kapag maglalaro siya, ang talino niya. Ang galing talaga ni Ben wala akong masasabi.”
Come Season 86 – his last playing year – Phillips hopes that he will be back as a better power forward for the Archers before being a middle blocker for the Spikers.
And he is also hopeful that he is not the last of dual-sport athletes that the UAAP will encounter.
“Sobrang thankful ako kay Coach Topex (Robinson) kasi he lets me do the cross-training. So sana when I go to basketball season my legs, will be stronger, my vertical jump will be higher,” said Phillips.
“Volleyball like I always say is a very good cross-training sa basketball, so hopefully we see more dual-sport athletes in the future.”