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La Salle send seniors out with classic win over UP

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With three of their main guns playing in their final game, the DLSU Green Spikers came through when the chips were stacked against them, pulling out a five-set thriller over the UP Fighting Maroons, 25-19, 25-19, 18-25, 15-25, 17-15 at the San Juan Arena.

After convincingly taking the first two sets of the match with tremendous play from open spiker Cris Dumago and his fellow open hitter Arjay Onia, La Salle’s offense stalled in the third and fourth sets as UP’s blocking severely bothered their open spikers. UP’s Alfred Valbuena had a monster game, scoring a season-high 25 points as he took advantage of his team’s superb defense to notch easy points off their rebounds. The Maroons cruised their way into a fifth and deciding set.

The final set saw the Maroons jump out to an early lead as errors plagued the La Salle side, keeping them from gaining momentum. The Maroons were close to sealing the match as they hit match point at 14-12. A service error from Wendel Miguel followed by an Onia open hit sent the match to a deuce wherein UP again took an advantage early only to squander three consecutive points to give La Salle the win.

Graduating La Salle Spiker Red Christensen was salty the entire day from the attacking area but he delivered in the clutch moments of the match, winning the final point for La Salle with a block and digging out a crucial attack. Christensen was a former UAAP MVP, sharing the honors with UST’s Mark Alfafara in Season 75. As this season’s team captain, Christensen battled injuries and personal problems and had one of his statistically bad seasons but still managed to leave the UAAP with a bang, finishing the match with three points.

The other graduating players for the Spikers are setter Brendan Santos and middle blocker Aaron Calderon. Santos finished his final game with five points and 31 excellent sets while Calderon contributed 10 points and three blocks.

UP had no players playing in their final season.

La Salle brother Br. Bernie Oca, F.S.C. thanked the Spikers for pulling out the win as it greatly helped them towards earning the Grand UAAP Championship, saying, “When the chips were stacked against us, you still managed to get the win.”

La Salle finishes the season in sixth place while UP trails them in seventh place.

The scores:

DLSU – Dumago 22, Onia 20, Frey 10, Calderon 10, Calasin 7, Santos 5, Christensen 3, Dimayuga 1, Del Pilar 0, Asia 0, Movido (L), Dizon (L)

UP – Valbuena 25, Miguel 13, San Pascual 13, Raymundo 10, Abuda 7, Cabatingan 5, San Pedro 0, Acuna 0, Hernandez 0, Diaz (L), Nicandro (L)

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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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