The UP Fighting Maroons have built an image of inconsistency in the past few years. Although talented, the Maroons often struggle to keep a high level throughout matches leading to their absence in the UAAP’s Final Four. Against the AU Chiefs, the Maroons were on the verge of another meltdown, but were able to pick themselves up just in time, dousing the Chiefs in four sets, 21-25, 25-14, 25-23, 25-13 in the Spikers’ Turf Collegiate Tournament presented by PLDT Home Ultera in the FilOil Flying-V Arena.
UP’s floor defense faltered to begin the match although Arellano’s attackers weren’t attacking at an uncontrollable pace. The Maroons fought hard to dig themselves out of the early hole, but Arellano got timely attacks from guest player and former Fighting Maroon, Christian Delapaz, to put away the first set.
Cleaning up their service reception and digging, the Maroons began to get their offense going in the second set. Furthermore, it helped the Maroons’ cause that Arellano’s offense tailed off drastically leading to nine errors in the second frame alone. The third set was a closer affair with UP’s Wendel Miguel and AU’s Delapaz trading points for an extended period. AU forced a tie at 23 but was unable to stop UP from taking the next two points due to consecutive miscommunications on floor defense. UP controlled the final set through spectacular blocking, which Arellano could not penetrate, eventually leading to more attack errors mostly due to failed attempts at avoiding UP’s blockers.
Open hitter, Wendel Miguel put on a stellar, game-high effort of 20 points, UP Team Captain Alfred Valbuena followed with 14 points, while veteran Middle Blocker, Evan Raymundo, contributed 12 points, three coming off blocks.
Arellano’s guest player, Christian Delapaz finished with 17 points off 15 attacks and two blocks, while middle blockers, Christopher Soriano and Christian Segovia, each dished out 12 markers.
The Fighting Maroons has John Vic De Guzman and CSB Blazers next on July 20, while Arellano faces off with Raymart Woo and DLSU Spikers on July 22.
UP (3) – Miguel 20, Valbuena 14, Raymundo 12, Millete 7, San Pascual 7, Madrigalejos 1, Baldelovar 0, Acuna 0, Consuelo 0, Nasol (L), Luna (L)
AU (1) – Delapaz 17, Soriano 12, Segovia 12, Aliyacyac 5, Sarino 4, Del Espiritu 2, Liberato K. 1, Santo 1, Lozada 1, Liberato J. 1, Dela Cruz (L)