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La Salle rallies back, thwarts UP for fourth Spikers’ Turf win



In a rivalry that has been brewing in the UAAP for years, the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Spikers claimed another classic five-set match over the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons 25-22, 24-26, 15-25, 25-13,15-13 in the Spikers’ Turf Collegiate Conference presented by PLDT Home Ultera at the FilOil Flying V Arena.

The opening sets saw both teams fight tooth and nail for an advantage. In the first stanza, neither team yielded a solid lead until La Salle made a run with the set hanging in the balance, 20-20. UP’s errors coupled with two Arjay Onia kills propelled the boys from Taft to claim five of the next seven points. In the second set, UP looked to have a clear path to their first set win as they led 24-21. However, the La Sallians fought back and forced a deuce. The Maroons got an immediate response from Wendel Miguel who turned in a powerful spike to take set point, 25-24, then Evan Raymundo followed up with a resounding block on Onia to tie the match at a set apiece.

The third set was all-UP with their 16-13 lead blowing up to 21-14 as La Salle struggled to set up any offense. DLSU’s service reception only got worse, dragging them down two sets to one. The fourth frame saw the Green Spikers turn their luck around. After edging out their foes for the lead heading into the first technical timeout, 8-7, La Salle received a huge boost from middle blocker Ralph Calasin who led a 9-0 run with his services that complimented his team’s blocking really well. Leading 16-7, the Greenies easily forced a deciding fifth set.

Third-year open hitter, Raymark Woo came alive in the fifth set, scoring nine of his 17 points and fuelling his team’s charge. Though UP made it close down the stretch, La Salle showed tremendous composure against a team that defeated them in the PNG tournament last month.

“Ang sabi ko lang sa kanila magfocus tapos alalahanin ‘yung mga ginawa namin sa ensayo. Gumawa talaga kasi kami ng mga pattern specifically para sa UP. Nawala ‘yun noong second and third set pero mabuti na lang nailabas na nila pagdating nung huling dalawang set,” said La Salle head coach, Ron Dulay whose team has been blistering offensively throughout the season.

Though they had less block kills (16-10) and more errors (38-28), the La Sallians amassed an astonishing 60 attacks to UP’s 38. Arjay Onia topped all scorers with a season-high 25 points while opposite hitter Mike Frey added 12 markers.

UP team captain, Alfred Valbuena notched 21 points while Evan Raymundo put together a 13 point performance which includes seven blocks in UP’s third loss of the season. UP-La Salle matches have always been incredibly entertaining with their most drama-filled encounter going down in last season’s UAAP. They faced each other in the final match of the regular season with La Salle receiving one last heroic performance from its estranged MVP Red Christensen to down the Maroons for sixth place in the final standings.

Both teams will face the squads that qualified for the Top 8 in the other grop – NU, EAC, FEU, and NCBA.

The Scores:

DLSU (3) – Onia 25, Woo 17, Frey 12, Calasin 8, Del Pilar 5, Dumago 5, Jose 2, Asia J. 1, Dimayuga 1, Movido (L)

UP (2) – Valbuena 21, Raymundo 13, Millete 9, Miguel 8, San Pascual 7, Acuña 3, Luna (L), Nasol (L)


Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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