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Men’s Beach Volleyball Day Two: Eagles, Tigers, Bulldogs continue to roll

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Day Two of the UAAP Men’s Beach Volleyball tournament had yesterday’s big winners continue their stellar start. Ateneo and UST maintained perfect records, NU’s young pair averted an upset, while everyone else is muddled in the middle.

Adamson’s Michael Sudaria and Renz Melgar started their day successfully, shrugging off UP’s Alfred Valbuena and Evan Raymundo, 15-21, 21-16, 15-7. Sudaria and Melgar started the match flat-footed, allowing the Maroons to exploit the gaps in their defense. The Falcons, however, responded emphatically, easily outplaying Valbuena and Raymundo in the following sets. Melgar’s quickness and Sudaria’s offensive creativity made an immense difference in the late-game.

The FEU’s Greg Dolor and Jude Garcua followed, avoiding a late-game meltdown to hand DLSU’s Carlo Sendo and Cris Dumago their first loss of the season, 21-9, 18-21, 15-13. Dolor and Garcia’s coordination overwhelmed a dazed La Salle side in the first set. FEU’s energy and aggressiveness wavered in the second frame with the morning sun projecting immense heat on the playing court. La Salle adjusted quicker, erasing FEU’s 16-13 lead to force a deciding set. Dolor led a rejuvenated FEU charge in the third set, saving multiple rallies for the Recto-based pair. Leading 14-11, FEU nearly let the win go as La Salle frantically strung together points. Jude Garcia, however, got a clutch reception which allowed him a good look at an attack to finish off the match.

Later in the day, FEU once again started strong but NU’s Bryan Bagunas and Madzlan Gampong did not waiver in putting away the Tamaraws late in the match. The Bulldogs got their mojo back with a convincing, 14-21, 21-11, 15-11 win. The Tamaraws had started all their matches with a first set win but their play in game-clinching moments had been inconsistent. NU looked frazzled in the first set with Dolor and Garcia unloading powerful attacks. Bagunas and Gampong settled down in the the second set, executing their target serving impeccably while playing heads-up defense. The third set came down to the last few points. FEU squeezed past early, 11-10, but NU had one last game-winning rally that gave them an above .500 record.

Ateneo’s Marck Espejo and Ysay Marasiga stopped the string of three-set matches, making quick work of DLSU’s Carlo Sendo and Cris Dumago 21-18, 21-15. The Eagles played forcefully, putting power in every they did -attacking serving, and coverage. Had the Eagles not surrendered errors late in each set, the score sheet would have shown bigger margins that illustrated how great the Eagles played. La Salle had no answers.

The Maroons’ Alfred Valbuena and Evan Raymundo then capped their two-game day with their first win of the season at the expense of the winless UE pair of Edward Camposano and Geric Ortega, 21-18, 21-15. The Maroons ruthlessly targeted the rookie, Ortega to attack for UE. Ortega could not string together enough attacks to keep UE afloat, allowing Valbuena and Raymundo easy chances at points. Last season’s rookie of the year, Camposano barely had attacking opportunities.

UST then capped the day with a resounding win as cousins Kris Guzman and Anthony Arbasto shook off a sluggish start to thwart the AdU’s Michael Sudaria and Rence Melgar, 20-22, 21-16, 15-7. The Tigers came back from a five-point margin, 16-11, to beat the Falcons to first crack at set point, 20-18. After a timeout, Adamson salvaged four consecutive points and caught enough breaks to get the early advantage. UST then came out guns ablaze in the following sets. Anthony Arbasti stepped up beautifully, responding to Adamson’s target serving with slippery attacks. The Falcons lost their rhythm for the rest of the match, snuffing plays and receptions they usually got.

Here are the standings after Day Two

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

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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