Losing their three-game win streak against the NU Bulldogs in a five set heartbreaker, the UST Golden Spikers turned it around this time with an escape over the gritty FEU Tamaraws in a 22-25, 25-19, 27-25, 25-22 win at the San Juan Arena.
FEU started strong, building a comfortable lead early as UST seemed rusty with multiple errors. Floor defense was the key in the Tamaraws’ first set win led by libero Rikko Marmento with his digs. UST countered with a second set win anchored by the usual frontcourt duo of Mark Alfafara and UST captain Romnick Rico.
The Golden Spikers closed out the third and fourth set on a strong note despite the rallies put up by the Tamaraws. UST ended the third frame with solid net defense led by the blocks of Alfafara. Their frontline defense stood tall in the last set as they denied the Tamaraws’ spikers and throttled a comeback attempt by FEU.
Alfafara once again paced the Golden Spikers with 24 points including three blocks. In addition, Rico added a solid output of 20 markers with three service aces. Paul Castillo also provided a good stat line with his four points and 29 excellent sets for UST. Franco Camcam was the lone double-digit scorer for FEU with 10 markers while coming off the bench in the first two sets.
Despite the tight game in terms of scoring, it was a big domination in terms of statistics for the UST spikers. Alfafara’s 21 attacks led UST’s 54 compared to FEU’s 46. UST also held a large advantage in blocks, 12-3, and they were +3 in terms of scoring from service aces, 4-1.
With the win, UST improves to a 4-1 record, still at second place behind the undefeated NU squad. FEU slides to 2-3, snapping a back-to-back win streak over La Salle and UE.
UST looks to extend a great first round start so far against the Adamson Falcons while the Tamaraws look to get back on the winning track against UP. Both games will be held on January 7, 2015, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
UST – Alfafara 24, Rico 20, Bautista 8, Sarabia 7, Balse 7, Castillo 4, Tajanlangit 0, Arbasto 0, Pangan(L) 0
FEU – Camcam 10, Solis 7, Gacutan 7, Dolor 6, Barrica 5, Miranda 5, Paler 4, Margate 2, Cayaban 2, Refugia 1, Villegas 1, Marmento(L) 0