The De La Salle University Green and Lady Spikers started their season on the wrong foot against their counterparts from the University of Santo Tomas as both teams dropped their first games in the 75th Season of the UAAP last December 2 at The Arena in San Juan.
The Green Spikers lost 3-1 against the Tiger Spikers while the Lady Spikers failed to make a come back from a 0-2 hole and fell 3-2 against the team’s Thomasian counterpart.
Green Spikers: Beginning of the end
The first set took off with both teams showing intensity and desire to win as the opportunity went back and forth. The tides changed, however, after a service error from the Green-and-White, which allowed UST to make a 6-0 run. UST ended the set with a 16-25 win over La Salle.
The third set of the match turned into another let down for the Green Spikers as the Tiger Spikers kept a steady lead until the end of the set. UST’s Mark Alfafara led a 7-0 run through service aces alone and sealed the deal, 17-25.
With the game at stake, the Green Spikers tried to surpass UST in the fourth set of the game. The Green-and-White took over the lead at the 21-point mark as Antonio placed a spike to penetrate the España-based squad’s walls. Despite turning the tables around, DLSU failed to capitalize on the lead and ended with a return error, which decided the match, 23-25.
Lady Spikers: Slow start leads to eventual demise
The Lady Spikers, led by reigning MVP Abi Marano, kicked off with an early 7-2 lead against UST. The squad from España eventually tied the game at seven. The game then turned into a back-and-forth affair after. UST, however, closed the set, 6-3, to steal the first round of action from La Salle.
Both teams were at a deadlock at 11 points apiece to begin the second set before UST started an unimaginable run against the defending champion, doubling the team’s score to bury the Lady Spikers. The second set went to the Black-and-Yellow 25-13, giving UST an imposing 2-0 lead.
The tables were turned in the third set as the Lady Spikers displayed the team’s experience and resiliency. Coach Ramil De Jesus’s squad held the lead throughout the set as the team hammered out a 25-11 victory to regain momentum and position the Lady Spikers for a comeback.
La Salle continued to lead in the fourth set, but Santo Tomas kept the scores close, never falling behind by more than six points. The Lady Spikers booked the fifth and final duel with a 25-21 fourth set victory behind the stellar play of Michelle Gumabao and Mika Reyes.
UST refused to be the bridesmaid in this match as the squad refused to hand over the victory to La Salle. The Lady Spikers started with two quick points, but retaliated and took the lead at the halfway point of the set. The resurgence of the España-based squad came as a surprise for a fatigued La Salle side, which eventually fell 15-9 in the deciding canto.
One down, 13 to go
Even with a loss against UST, the Lady Spikers will continue the team’s quest to repeat the championship streak achieved by the 2003-2005 squads. The Green Spikers, on the other hand, will not let this affect the team’s bid to improve on last year’s top four finish after falling to the reigning runner-up.
Expect these two sides to bounce back as they attempt to earn a victory next Saturday, December 8. The Green Spikers will fight the the UE Red Warriors, while the Lady Spikers will take on the AdU Lady Falcons at The Arena in San Juan once more.