Shaking off a sluggish early effort, the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons bounced back and produced their third win of the Spikers’ Turf Collegiate Conference presented by PLDT Home Ultera at the expense of the De La Salle University – Dasmariñas (DLSU-D) Patriots 23-25, 25-16, 25-19, 25-22 at the FilOil Flying V Arena, Wednesday afternoon.
Open hitter, Wendel Miguel led a stellar effort from the UP starting six. The third-year skipper landed 19 points, Alfred Valbuena amassed 15 markers, and middle blocker Evan Raymundo contributed 11 points which includes five block kills.
The Maroons faced an early standoff in the opening set. With both teams trading points, UP blinked first and surrendered a crucial 3-0 Patriots’ run, which mostly came off UP’s errors, that bolted the La Sallians ahead 21-18. The Patriots protected the advantage until they reached set point, 24-20, wherein they let the Maroons fight back and nearly force a deuce. Luckily, UP had one more error in them courtesy of Wendel Miguel.
The second was all UP as they led wire-to-wire and even established their biggest lead of the match at 11, 21-10. The third set went along in similar fashion with the Maroons building an early lead, holding on, and forcing sideouts as early as they could when the Patriots got the service
Piling up error after error, the Patriots seemed to have just given in at the fourth set. They had one last fight in them, however, trailing 22-17, as UP relinquished their lead, allowing the Caviteños to setup a 4-0 run, 22-21. However, the Maroons picked themselves back up and took the match thanks to attacks from Wendel Miguel and quick thinking from Evan Raymundo, who continues to show consistency in his funky drop ball attempts.
UP head coach, Melchor Santos said after the game that he only needs his players to heed his instructions for the to succeed. “‘Yun naman ‘yung sakit ng mga players namin eh, hindi nakikinig. Kailangan lang naman pakinggan ‘yung instructions namin sa kanila. Ang kaso, minsan maraming iniisip na iba ‘yung bata pero unti-unti naman namin naaayos,” expressed Santos after his team gave up 30 errors only to be topped by the Patriots’ atrocious 38 infractions.
With their 3-1 record in Group B, the UP Maroons officially qualified for the Top 8 phase of the tournament. La Salle Dasma’s 0-4 slate ensured their elimination.
The UP Maroons have one more match in the initial group stages; a grudge match with the Taft-based DLSU Green Spikers on August 12, Wednesday. On August 10, Monday,Dasma faces off with the Arellano Chiefs
UP (3) – Miguel 19, Valbuena 15, Raymundo 11, Millete 8, San Pascual 6, Gohoc 1, Acuna 0, Madrigalejos 0, San Pedro 0, Nasol (L), Luna (L)
DLSU-D (1) – Kasim E. 20, Bin 11, Sapida 5, Adam 5, Castro 4, Benitez 4, Cacayuran 2, Mirano 1, Pomada (L), Marquez (L)