Yesterday, both the DLSU Green Spikers and Lady Spikers raced to early two-set leads against the UP Fighting Maroons and the FEU Lady Tamaraws, respectively, putting themselves in a position to take straight-set victories to open their second round campaigns.
The next two sets, however, saw the UP Maroons claw back to force a fifth set, seemingly putting the Green Spikers in a position to give up another match that they could have easily won. However, a resilient DLSU squad came back from an early deficit in that final set to clinch the match, 27-25, 25-21, 18-25, 23-25, 15-11, yesterday, March 5, at the FilOil Arena.
Raymark Woo left it all on the court, pouring in a game-high 27 points on 23 spikes and three blocks. Arjay Onia added 14 points, while Geriant Bacon finished with nine in the victory. Four UP players finished in double-figures, with Wendel Miguel leading the way with 16 points. Alfred Valbuena and John Millete each scored 15 points, while Gian San Pascual had 10 in the loss.
Later that afternoon, a reinvigorated Lady Tamaraw squad would also come back to win the third and fourth sets, only to see a strong opening by DLSU in the fifth set eventually seal the deal for the Lady Spikers in five sets, 25-14, 25-9, 22-25, 19-25, 15-7. With the win, La Salle now boasts a 6-2 win-loss record.
Ara Galang was named Player of the Game after contributing 13 points to La Salle’s cause. Moreover, Kim Dy, Mary Joy Baron, and Cyd Demecillo scored 14, 13, and 12 points, respectively. Meanwhile, FEU’s Bernadeth Pons scored a game-high 23 points, followed by Toni Rose Basas, who had 14, and team captain Remy Palma, who finished with 11 points.
Outlasting the Fighting Maroons
Early on in the first DLSU match of the day, both teams came out of the gate scoring as the Green Spikers needed to fend off a UP rally to clinch the first set, 27-25, behind Woo’s efforts. La Salle would again rely on their potent offense to give them an early lead in the second set, only to see the Fighting Maroons trim the lead. DLSU would maintain their composure and close out UP, 25-21, to set themselves up for a quick victory.
However, the third set saw the Green Spikers and the Fighting Maroons trade points, with the former eventually gaining an 8-4 lead heading into the first technical timeout of the third set. UP would then score five unanswered points to take the lead, at 9-8, one that would eventually swing momentum and the set in their favor, 25-18.
UP continued to have the momentum in the fourth set, racing to a 14-8 lead that the Green Spikers would cut to one, 24-23, behind the efforts of Ralph Calasin. The Fighting Maroons were saved by Valbuena, who forced a fifth and final set after sealing the fourth, 25-23.
The Fighting Maroons looked to pull off a comeback after racing to an early 10-3 lead in the fifth set. However, DLSU went on a 12-1 run that sealed the set and the match, 15-11, giving the Green Spikers their second victory in eight games.
Despite the win, DLSU committed more errors than the Fighting Maroons, 41-34. La Salle, however, had more excellent digs than UP, 45-31, with Woo and Jopet Movido combining for 32 of DLSU’s total.
Fending off the Lady Tamaraws
The Lady Tamaraws had a three-point advantage early into the first set, 6-3. However, the Lady Spikers answered with a 5-1 run that put them in the lead. Towards the end of the set, La Salle further widened their lead and eventually captured the first set at 25-14 with a quick attack from Mika Reyes.
Similar to the previous set, FEU took an early 3-1 lead that DLSU erased after scoring nine straight points. The Lady Tamaraws tried to cut the La Salle lead, but the Lady Spikers prevented them from doing so by scoring consecutive points multiple times. Eventually, DLSU found themselves at set point, 24-9, after an error incurred by FEU. A Baron quick attack gave the second set to La Salle at 25-9.
Unlike the first two sets, it was La Salle who opened the scoring in set three with a 4-0 run, courtesy of Baron and Dy. But before the lead became too wide, the Lady Tamaraws caught up with the help of Palma, Basas, and Pons, tying the scores at 6-all. A close match ensued between both teams, and at 15-all, FEU pulled away with 6-1 run. La Salle quickly caught up with a 6-1 run of their own to put the scores at 22-all, but Pons and Basas prevented DLSU from sweeping the match, with the latter’s strong cross court attack ending the set at 25-22.
The start of the fourth set saw the two teams at a close match. Tied at eight, FEU pulled away and took a 15-10 lead. La Salle then cut the lead to one with an ace from Kim Fajardo and attacks from Galang and Dy. However, the Lady Tamaraws didn’t give the lead up as a Pons attack at set point secured the fourth set for the Lady Tamaraws with a score of 25-19.
The two teams started the fifth set aggressively, with both sides trying to take control. It was the Lady Spikers, however, who succeeded in taking an 8-2 lead with the help of Carol Cerveza and Galang. The two opposing teams continued to trade points, with FEU trying to catch up and La Salle trying to protect their lead. Towards the end of the set, Demecillo spearheaded a 4-2 run to put La Salle at match point, 14-7. Ernestine Tiamzon closed the set and match with an uncontested open attack, 15-7, in favor of La Salle.
DLSU led in the team statistics after making 50 attacks and 10 blocks as opposed to FEU’s 40 attacks and nine blocks. Both teams each finished with 11 service aces.
The DLSU Volleyball teams will return to the same venue next Saturday, March 12, with the Green Spikers taking on the FEU Tamaraws at 8 am and the Lady Spikers facing the UST Golden Tigresses at 3:30 pm.