University of the Philippines completed a huge fightback to stop College of Saint Benilde in five sets, 21-25, 22-25, 25-22, 26-24, 15-11, in the classification match of the men’s division of the 2022 V-League Collegiate Challenge, Friday evening at the Paco Arena Sports and Events Center in Manila.
The Fighting Maroons will take on fellow UAAP team Adamson University next as the Soaring Falcons finally got another win after a three-set finish of San Sebastian College-Recoletos, 25-21, 25-18, 25-21, earlier.
Second-year UP outside hitters Louis Gamban and Jaivee Malabanan both ended with 22 points.
Gamban scored 22 attacks and was a huge factor in playmaking with 28 excellent receptions, while Malabanan finished with 17 kills, three blocks, and two service aces to go with 11 excellent receptions.
“Every game naman namin tinatry i-build up yung confidence ng mga bata. Medyo unfortunate kasi sa preparation andami pa rin naming hahabulin,” UP head coach Rald Ricafort shared on the win. “Hindi kami makapag-everyday, hirap kami sa venue. Pero yun nga, hindi naman dahilan na pagpunta rito lagi na lang kaming alanganin.
Meanwhile, with the Golden Stags still in step with the Falcons during the third set after a Francis Casas hitting error, 23-21, the latter eventually closed the match with a JC Aguilar kill followed by a service ace from JM Tropia.
Tropia ended with 12 points on 10 attacks and two blocks to lead Adamson, while Aguilar added 11 markers on eight spikes, two blocks, and one ace.
Middle blocker Joshua Magalaman, though, also needed to step up on floor defense as their liberos were injured.
“Happy naman ako kasi nag-connect sila ng setters. Kasi yung nga setters ko, mga three months pa lang silang nagte-train with them. Happy ako na yung three months na yun, meron ng potential na connection,” Adamson head coach George Pascua commented on Magalaman and his other spikers’ performance.
Arnel Aguilar exploded for the Blazers with 21 points on 17 attacks and four blocks, while middle blockers Ryan Daculan and James Laguit chipped in 15 markers each.
San Sebastian saw Renmart Alba lead with six points on four spikes and two blocks, as opposite hitter Joshua Espenida sat out the game to recover from his injury.
The Blazers will face the Golden Stags in the 11th-place contest.