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Men’s Beach Volley Day Three: UST, ADMU lead the pack with NU on their heels

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After the top teams had established themselves in the first two days, Day Three of the UAAP Men’s Beach Volleyball tournament had no upsets, though some teams came close. The Blue Eagles and the Tigers still share the top spot while NU’s young pair averted an upset to stay third. With FEU and AdU sputtering, the last Final Four spot is still up for grabs.

UST’s uncle-nephew tandem of Kris Roy Guzman and Anthony Arbasto won both their matches, staving off UP’s Alfred Valbuena and Evam Raymundo 21-19, 21-17 in the morning, then quickly dumping DLSU’s Carlo Sendo and Levin Dimayuga 21-12, 21-14 in the afternoon. With a height and power advantage, UP’s Valbuena and Raymundo challenged UST’s defense. The Tigers also took a while to figure out the weak points in UP’s defense. Despite being a beach volleyball rookie, Arbasto did much of UST’s scoring as UP targeted him. Guzman’s court presence was key since he saved crucial points to give UST the momentum. Against DLSU, the Tomasinos played with exuberance despite coming off another match. Guzman patrolled the net to stop Sendo’s attack. La Salle’s lack of energy led to a quick UST win to end the day.

The Tigers’ fellow tournament leaders, the Blue Eagles, saw Marck Espejo and Ysay Marasigan continue to overpower the competition, beating FEU’s Greg Dolor and Jude Garcia 21-18, 21-12. FEU had won all the opening sets of their previous matches but Ateneo started off strong. Espejo continued to move well despite having limited experience on sand courts. Marasigan also proved to be one of the tournament’s best players at the net, stifling FEU’s usually powerful offense.

NU’s Madzlan Gampong and Bryan Bagunas battled fatigue, demolishing UE’s Edward Camposano and Geric Ortega in the morning 21-15, 21-16, then fending off UP’s in-form tandem, Valbuena and Raymundo 19-21, 21-18, 15-12 in the afternoon. NU had no problems against UE, matching the intense morning heat with scorching attacks that the Red Warriors could not block. But the two games that day wore down the Bulldogs, who went into their afternoon match against UP low on steam. The Maroons, on the other hand, fed off the crowd of Iskos in the stands, delivering powerful attacks though they themselves had had an earlier match. With neither Gampong or Bagunas attacking with their usual ferocity, UP snatched the opening set and fought valiantly in the second set before miscues caught up to them. Still, UP was on the cusp of an upset in the third set, leading 11-9 after Evan Raymundo blocked consecutive NU attacks. But after a time-out, the Bulldogs gathered themselves for one last run, rattling off five consecutive points in attacks and aces to reach set point first and eventually take the match.

Adamson’s Michael Sudaria and Rence Melgar made the most of their only match of the day, getting their groove back with a quick 21-10, 21-15 victory over DLSU’s Sendo and Dimayuga. After heart-breaking losses in the first two days, the Falcons got a breather, easily dismantling the Spikers. Sudaria, who played through the first two days with abdominal pains, had a terrific outing, unleashing his full arsenal of trick shots. The match gave Adamson much-needed momentum for a Final Four spot heading into the final weekend of the tournament.

Here are the standings after Day Three:

UST (Guzman/Arbasto) 5-0
ADMU (Marasigan/Espejo) 4-0
NU (Gampong/Bagunas) 4-1
AdU (Sudaria/Melgar) 2-2
FEU (Dolor/Garcia) 1-3
UP (Valbuena/Raymundo) 1-4
DLSU (Sendo/Dimayuga) 1-4
UE (Camposano/Ortega) 0-4

For the schedule of remaining games, click here.

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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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