With 14 regular game days plus an additional day to resume a halted Adamson-FEU game, we summarize the UAAP teams first round stint in the Men’s Volleyball tournament.
National University Bulldogs (6-1)
The defending champions are still on deck to finishing the double-round robin format strong. Out of their six wins, four came from quick sweeps. Entering the final match day against their Season 76 finals opponents Ateneo, the Bulldogs’ six-game winning streak was snapped on a heartbreaking fifth set defeat. Despite the setback, NU remains one of the favorite teams to bag this year’s championship.
Adamson University Falcons (6-1)
Easy to say that they are the hottest team in the league right now. Succumbing in a straight-set defeat against NU in the opening day of the tournament, the Falcons are piling up wins and won their last six games. They ended their first round in a fast thrashing over FEU Tamaraws in the rescheduled game day due to faulty lighting at MoA arena on the original game day. Nevertheless, they still hold a firm grip on the chance of having a twice-to-beat edge come playoff time.
University of Santo Tomas Tiger Spikers (5-2)
Anchored by one of the MVP candidates, Mark Alfafara, the Tigers are poised to make noise in the Men’s Volleyball tournament in the second round. Their two losses came from Adamson and NU. They almost had it against the Bulldogs, but lost their chance as they struggled during the fifth and deciding set of that heavyweight matchup. The Tigers are one of the stronger teams as of late and may become a dangerous counterpart for teams come final-four stage.
Ateneo de Manila University Blue Spikers (5-2)
Last year’s bridesmaid finishers ended their first seven games of the season in a strong note with a four-game winning streak capped by a victory over NU. Ateneo’s two losses came in the hands of UST and Adamson. In their current winning tear, two came via quick sets, one from a four-setter, and one from an impressive five-set thriller over the defending champions. Riding with the momentum entering the last half of the tournament, the Blue Spikers are in stride to making a possible top-two push entering the tail-end of the season.
University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons (3-4)
It was a see-saw start to the season for the Maroons, but two huge victories to end their first round against FEU and UE keep their final four hopes alive. However, UP has yet to win against the current top four teams. In fact, they got swept by Ateneo, NU and UST and only managed to win a set over Adamson. The final four chance is still possible for UP but they need to get a winning record in their last seven games of the season and do good against the powerhouse squads.
Far Eastern University Tamaraws (2-5)
The Tarawaws have yet to win a convincing game so far in the season as they are still searching for their groove as a team. Their two wins against UE and La Salle came off five close sets and they enter the second round on a three-game losing skid. They won a set over Adamson in the supposed game day but due to technical errors, the UAAP moved and decided to reset the game the following day but eventually, FEU would lose on a sweep. Together with La Salle and UP, their final four chance appear to be bleak due to their losing record, but they could play as the tournament’s ‘spoilers’ especially in the last part of the elimination round.
De La Salle University Green Spikers (1-6)
Almost but not quite. That has been the theme for the Green Spikers in their opening round as three of their six defeats came off a loss in a fifth set. Their lone victory was against UE in a quick sweep. They almost had Adamson, FEU and UP but late-game collapse haunted their chance for a possible 4-3 record. Their other three losses came quick as they bowed down on three sweeps. A second-round comeback for the Taft-based crew may arise but maybe too late due to their disappointing start.
University of the East Red Warriors (0-7)
They ‘almost’ snatched their first victory against UP last Wednesday but a frustrating five-point fifth set erased their hopes for that elusive W. The Red Warriors are still skidding and struggling in the current season as they dropped their first seven games. Their UP game, together with their game against FEU were the closest chance of barging into the win column but the Warriors were unable to gather focus and grip to win. The coming UAAP break may help them get back on track and come back stronger in the second round and at least end the season with a victory in the standings.