The UAAP Season 79 Beach Volleyball Tournament, which was held on October 1 to 3 and 7 to 9 at the MOA Sands by the Bay, saw different teams rise and fall from their previous rankings. For the DLSU Green Spikers and Lady Spikers, the six-day tournament was a long and arduous trial as they were faced with both victories and defeats.
The Lady Spikers, who were represented by Tin Tiamzon, Desiree Cheng, and Kim Fajardo, failed to defend their crown. La Salle dropped down to third place after falling to last year’s championship title rivals, the FEU Lady Tamaraws, in the semifinals. On the other hand, the Green Spikers, consisting of Cris Dumago, Wayne Marco, and Levin Dimayuga, finished the season early with a win-loss record of 1-6, putting them at seventh place.
Green Spikers’ valiant effort
The Green Spikers struggled early on the opening day of the tournament. DLSU started off the season by losing to the FEU Tamaraws and UP Fighting Maroons. The tandem of Marco and Dumago was eager to begin the season on a positive note.
However, despite a comeback from La Salle in the second set against FEU, Marco and Dumago failed to secure the last set. FEU took its first win of the tournament beating La Salle, 21-12, 15-21, 16-14. The second match against UP proved to be too much to handle for DLSU. The Fighting Maroons finished the Green Spikers in straight sets of 21-12 and 21-18.
On the second day, the Green-and-White finished winless again. La Salle succumbed to the UST Growling Tigers in three wearying sets, 21-18, 24-26, 16-14. On the second match of the day, La Salle was dominated by NU, 21-10, 21-16. DLSU managed to start its games strong, but always struggled in the end.
The third day turned out to be different than the previous two. The Green Spikers managed to split their matches and claimed their first win against the UE Red Warriors despite losing to the AdU Soaring Falcons. AdU routed La Salle in two easy sets, 21-13, 21-15. On the next match, however, DLSU broke into the win column. Marco and Dumago bested UE in a thrilling three-set match, 21-18, 18-21, 15-7.
The chances of getting into the Final Four were completely out of reach on the last day of eliminations. ADMU outclassed La Salle, 21-14, 21-16, and ended up one place ahead of the Green Spikers at sixth place.
Growling Tiger Kris Roy took home the Most Valuable Player award while Tamaraw Jermiah Barrica was named Rookie of the Year. UST emerged as the eventual champions of the men’s division. Meanwhile, FEU and UP rounded up the podium, coming in at second and third, respectively.
In the face of unpredictability
The Lady Spikers were greatly challenged throughout the season. By the end of the elimination round, the team racked up a 4-3 win-loss card. DLSU and the ADMU Lady Eagles were joint at third place, thus resulting in a playoff. It was the Green-and-White squad, however, who proceeded to the semifinals after defeating ADMU in a two-set match.
The Tiamzon-Cheng duo started the season on a high note as they defeated the FEU Lady Tamaraws in a three-set match, 19-21, 21-16, 15-11. Their victory was short-lived, however, as it was immediately followed up with straight-set losses in their matches against the UP Lady Maroons and the UST Growling Tigresses.
The duo managed to find their beat once again in their fourth match to beat NU at 21-16, 21-16, but were defeated by the AdU Lady Falcons. It was during that match that Fajardo had to step in for Cheng, who had suffered from an asthma attack. Although they were defeated by the Lady Falcons, the Lady Spikers capped off the remaining elimination round matches with wins against the UE Lady Warriors and Lady Eagles.
Tied at third place with ADMU, the Tiamzon and Fajardo duo had to once again fight against the Lady Eagles for a ticket to the semifinals. It was an easy two-set win for La Salle, 21-19, 21-11.
Unlike in their previous games, the Lady Spikers struggled against their semifinals opponent, the Lady Tamaraws, who held a twice-to-beat advantage. La Salle managed to negate FEU’s edge after winning the first game in a grueling three-set match, 21-15, 18-21, 15-12. However, the Lady Spikers fell short in the second game, losing in two sets, 21-17, 21-15, to settle for third place.
UST completed a championship double in volleyball as the Growling Tigresses also defeated their counterparts from FEU in the finals. Veteran Cherry Rondina of UST bagged MVP honors for the team from España. The Lady Spikers, who failed to defend their title concluded their campaign in third place.
The Green Spikers and Lady Spikers earned two and 10 points, respectively, for DLSU’s General Championship bid. The La Salle Spikers now look forward to this season’s indoor volleyball tournament after bitter finishes. The women’s team will look to win back-to-back titles as the men’s team will look to improve on its sixth place finish.