University of the East relied on the scoring brilliance of Lloyd Josafat to dispatch University of the Philippines, 25-11, 23-25, 25-20, 28-26, and enter the win column of the UAAP Season 82 Men’s Volleyball Tournament, Saturday at SM Mall of Asia Arena.
The Red Warriors needed every bit of Josafat’s 32-point eruption, thwarting a late surge from the Fighting Maroons.
UE gave up a string of service errors late in the decisive fourth set, allowing UP to close in on an extension with a 22-19 lead.
Josafat then slowly sliced the deficit with a slew of quick hits at the middle and knotted the count at 23, before coughing out a service attempt to put the Fighting Maroons at match point.
Fortunately, John Andaya forged a deuce. It triggered a back-and-forth swing until Andaya broke a 26-all lock, setting up Josafat’s match-clinching block.
Coming off an opening day loss to FEU, UE head coach Jerome Guhit praised his wards composure and hunger for victory after their breakthrough win.
“This game nakaka-proud sila kasi ‘yung trinaining namin, lumalabas na. Tsaka tingin ko naman talagang gutom na gutom sila sa panalo eh,” Guhit said. “Tsaka, ‘yun nga, sabi ko mga bata sila so nandiyan sila para i-prove ‘yung sarili nila kaya maganda ‘yung ginalaw nila.”
Andaya and Kenneth Roi Culabat provided support for Josafat, contributing 15 and 14 markers, respectively.
On the other hand, UP saw John Lomibao’s 18-point outing go down the drain. Mac Millete and Louis Gamban had 12 and 11 points, respectively, in a losing cause.
UE’s next assignment is Ateneo on Wednesday, March 11. Meanwhile, UP seeks to get back on track when it takes on De La Salle University on Tuesday, March 10. Both matches will be held at the same venue.