In what seemed like a replay of their first round match, the UP Fighting Maroons needed five sets to put away the floundering UE Red Warriors, 25-19, 20-25, 23-25, 25-17, 15-8 at the San Juan Arena.
Both teams were close in all statistical categories but the Maroons managed to pile up less errors, giving up only 26 compared to UE’s 33.
UP demolished the Warriors early in the match, handily taking the first set as the Warriors just couldn’t find UP’s attackers. The Warriors made the proper adjustments in the following sets, tightening up their floor defense and promptly sending multiple blockers to meet them at the net. The Warriors also successfully fed the ball to their rookie wunderkind and three-time UAAP Juniors MVP Edward Camposano and his fellow open hitter Sidney Molina Jr., who both carried the Warriors’ offense. The Maroons threatened to come back in both the second and third sets when UE held the lead but stopped themselves in the process as they notched multiple crucial errors and missed blocking assignments.
The Maroons found their first set mojo in the final two of the match as Wendel Miguel, Julius Raymundo, and Christian Dela Paz caught fire for their squad. As the trio rained spikes all over the UE defense, the Maroons shackled the Camposano-Molina duo and left the Warriors grasping at straws for other offensive options. The Maroons thoroughly dominated the final two sets en route to their fourth win.
The Maroons pulled double-digit performances from five of their players. Open spiker Miguel had 18 points, opposite spiker Raymundo dropped 15 markers, open spiker Dela Paz amassed 14 points, and middle blockers Fredrick Abuda and Alfred Valbuena had 12 and 10 points respectively.
UE’s Camposano led all scorers with 24 points while his sidekick for the match, Molina, managed 18 points. Team captain Ace Mandani rounded out all double-digit scorers for UE as he pulled in 10 points while no one else on the UE lineup had more than six.
With the win, UP now holds a 4-6 record while the Warriors have yet to win a game in the tournament. Both teams will have their next games on Feb. 7, Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum with UP facing off against Ateneo while UE has the UST Tiger Spikers.
UP – Miguel 18, Raymundo 15, Dela Paz 14, Abuda 12, Valbuena 10, Cabatingan 5, Acuna 1, Hernandez 0, Diaz 0, Nicandro (L) 0
UE – Camposano 24, Molina 18, Mandani 10, Lelic 6, Adviento 6, Alba 2, Magdaong 1, Aljas 1, Gopio 0, Inoferio 0, Almario (L) 0