Instead of suffering another disappointing collapse, the University of Santo Tomas Tiger Spikers ended a four-year spell, escaping the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles, 25-18, 25-21, 22-25, 19-25, 15-12 in the UAAP Season 81 Men’s Volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
After taking a 2-0 sets lead, UST’s familiar struggle errors mounted in the next two frames and allowed the Blue Eagles to extend the match to a decider.
“Problem talaga for us ‘yung errors na galing siguro sa chemistry ng team and ‘yung kasanayan nila sa paglalaro sa ganitong environment,” said UST head coach Odjie Mamon.
Both squads battled to a draw in the fifth set until Joshua Umandal gave UST a 13-11 lead following a block and a tightly-called hit. After giving up an error, Umandal came back with a smash off two blockers, setting up Wewe Medina’s match-clinching hit.
“Nagkaroon lang talaga ng sense of urgency ‘yung team. They know na kailangan nilang manalo in every opportunity na makuha namin kasi mahirap nanaman ‘yung competition this year,” added Mamon.
This was UST’s first win over Ateneo since the last match of the UAAP Season 77 elimination round.
Medina finished with 22 points, 20 of which came off hits. Umandal added 20 markers from 18 attacks, a block, and an ace.
Tony Koyfman needed 77 attack attempts to get his 22 points. Open hitter Janjan Rivera added 15 points to go with 23 excellent receptions.
Both teams will play their next matches on Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Centre. UST (1-1) takes on UP (0-1) while Ateneo (1-1) faces FEU (1-0).
UST (3) – Medina 22, Umandal 20, Requinton 14, Sumagaysay 12, Corda 7, Tajanlangit T. 5, Valenzuela 0, Buro 0, Del Rosario 0, Mendiolla (L), Sawal (L)
ADMU (2) – Koyfman 22, Rivera 15, Medalla 11, Njigha 10, Glorioso 7, Magadia 1, Trinidad 1, Aguilar 0, Morado 0, Sumanguid (L)