Receiving stellar efforts from everyone on their starting six, the DLSU Green Spikers took care of their neighbors from across the street, the CSB Blazers, in four sets 25-18, 25-19, 17-25, 25-15 in the inaugural Spikers’ Turf Collegiate Conference at the FilOil Flying V Arena.
DLSU, who stuck to a steady seven-player rotation, showed vast improvements to the more unpredictable style they’ve been trying to incorporate since Ronald Dulay took the head coaching reins. Team captain Raymark Woo and fellow open hitter Arjay Onia gathered masterful 16 and 15 points respectively. Rookie middle blocker, Geriant Bell Bacon made his debut in the starting six and went off for nine points that matched Mike Frey’s output.
The Green Spikers leaned on their stellar serving throughout the entire match to bury their sister school. Their tally of seven aces do not clearly illustrate how much trouble they gave Benilde in just simply getting the first touch. La Salle jumped out to big leads in the early stages of the first two sets which CSB never recovered from.
However, the tides turned in the third set with Benilde taking charge right from the first point as they took a 4-0 lead. La Salle retaliated and cut the lead down to one, 4-3, but the Blazers easily reestablished their advantage as John Vic Se Guzman’s aerial antics quickly bolted his team back to a five-point lead, 11-6. De Guzman continued to tee-off on the DLSU defense, attacking from the back row and inflating his team’s lead to 20-10. The La Sallians tried to creep back into the set with stellar serving from Geuel Asia and Ralph Calasin that sliced the CSB lead down to five, 21-16, prompting a CSB timeout. The Blazers put the set away from there with Racmade Etrone and Isaah Arda combining for their final four points of the set.
La Salle imposed their will in the fourth set. Riding Woo’s hot-hand from the service line, La Salle broke away and took an 11-6 with a 4-0 run highlighted by consecutive Woo aces. CSB’s offense blew its final wheel with no player seemingly able to convert points consistently to quell La Salle’s advances. Coach Ronald Dulay’s squad won the final set by a season-high 10 point advantage.
After the match, Woo explained that there was a benefit to facing the team that resides just across the street from the campus. “Malaking bagay din siguro na madalas talaga kami nagpapractice together. Alam na namin ‘yung mga galaw nila, kaso nga lang naging disadvantage din namin ‘yun kasi nakapa na nila kami pagdating noong third set. Buti na lang nakapag-adjust kami nung fourth set,” said the third-year spiker.
De Guzman was the only Blazer in double figures with his game-high 20 points. His team slumped to a 2-2 record but still has a great chance at making the Top 8.
La Salle secures second place in Group B with its 3-1 slate and faces the UP Maroons on Wednesday, August 12. CSB has the undefeated Ateneo Blue Eagles next also on August 12.
DLSU (3) – Woo 16, Onia 15, Bacon 9, Frey 9, Calasin 8, Asia 1, Dimayuga 0, Dumago 0, Movido (L)
CSB (1) – De Guzman 20, Arda 9, Etrone 6, Basilan 5, Relata 5, Jordan 3, Coming 2, Deximo 1, Chua (L)
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