Poised to take the match in four, the Lyceum of the Philippines Pirates needed five sets and a deuce to put bury the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers, 23-25, 25-17, 25-16, 16-25, 16-14, in the NCAA Season 92 Men’s Volleyball Tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
After dropping a close first set, the Pirates dominated the next two sets to take the lead. JRU’s open hitter Roden Pulongbarit suffered an injury in the fourth frame, following which Lyceum had everything set up for a the finish. But the Bombers rallied through adversity, forcing a decider via solid serving.
The upset seemed near as the Bombers took the lead in the fifth set, 9-6, thanks to back-to-back Larry Sioco aces. But the Pirates made lineup adjustments, replacing their struggling liberos with serve specialist Floyd Magpantay. Open hitter Jhonel Badua powered the Pirates though a stretch that saw them snatch back the lead, 11-9. The Pirates, eventually, had match point at 14-12 but JRU made one last run to force a deuce. The Bombers then cost themselves the match as Angelo Cruz served out in the following point, setting up Mark Pecaña’s game-winning block.
“Bumaba laro namin noong fourth set. Siguro nakumpyansa siguro kasi lamang kami tapos maganda ‘yung nilaro noong second at third set. Muntik pa nga kami noong fifth set pero masaya naman kami na nakabawi pa din,” said Lyceum head coach Emil Lontoc.
Badua finished with a game-high 23 points, while Joeward Presnede added 10 markers.
Sioco tallied 13 points, while Pulongbarit had 10 points before suffering a hyper-extended knee.
LPU (1-1) take on the College of Saint Benilde Blazers (1-1) on November 29. JRU (0-2) face on the San Beda College Red Lions (2-0) on November 28.
LPU (3) – Badua 23, Presnede 10, Ganilla 9, Saprona 6, Binas 5, Dulce 5, Pecaña 5, Donsao 1, Lajara 1, Uy Corral 1, Magpantay 0, Calvo (L), Rubio (L)
JRU (2) – Sioco 13, Pulongbarit 10, Sulivas 9, Lahaylay 6, Dampitan 6, Rabaja 5, Francisco 3, Castillo 1, Cruz 0, Ferwelo 0, Cebrero 0, Defensor (L), Flor (L)