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Spikers’ Turf: La Salle extends winning streak to four after outlasting UP in five sets

Starting at a 2-1 set deficit, the DLSU Green Spikers rallied to overcome a gritty UP Fighting Maroons squad to win their final elimination match in the Spikers’ Turf in five sets, 25-22, 24-26, 15-25, 25-13, 15-13, yesterday at the San Juan Arena.

With yesterday’s victory, the DLSU team has secured a second place in its bracket with a 4-1 win-loss record. La Salle will move on to the quarterfinals along with the top-seeded Ateneo, third-placer UP, and sister school DLS-CSB.

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Arjay Onia was named Player of the Game for the third straight match after compiling 25 points off 20 spikes, three blocks, and two service aces. La Salle team captain Raymark Woo added 17 on 15 spikes, while Mike Frey had 12 points in the five-set thriller.

The Diliman-based squad was led by team captain Alfred Valbuena, who scored 21 points on 18 spikes. Evan Raymundo also added 13 markers coming off seven blocks in a losing effort.

Early in the first set, the Fighting Maroons raced to a 3-1 advantage but DLSU quickly responded to tie the score at 4. A series of successful attacks from La Salle gave them the edge over UP despite committing several errors. In the end, a cross court shot from Cris Dumago gave DLSU the first set, 25-23.

After their loss in the previous set, the Fighting Maroons were more aggressive, preventing the Green Spikers from taking the lead. Midway through the second set, a 3-1 run was instigated by Valbuena, forcing La Salle into committing more errors. Near the end of the set, DLSU went on a 5-0 run to tie the score at 24-all. The Fighting Maroons, not wanting to let the set drag on much longer, finished the set on top, 26-24 on a solid defensive stand.

UP quickly took the lead early in the third set, scoring three consecutive points from blocks. DLSU swiftly answered back with a 3-0 run of their own. However, errors plagued the Green Spikers throughout the set, further widening the gap between them and UP. The Fighting Maroons eventually ended the set with a 4-1 run, 25-15.

After having two consecutive sets taken from them, the Green Spikers rose up to the challenge and seized the fourth set. Both teams traded points early in the set until La Salle eventually pulled away with an 11-1 run, thus securing an 18-8 advantage. Calasin’s drop shot then ended the set at 25-13.

In the final set, the two teams executed different plays in hopes of outpacing the other. It was La Salle, however, who took the fifth set and the match with a score of 15-13.

The quarterfinals will feature two groups and another set of round robin matches wherein only the top two of each group will advance to the semifinals. First and third seeds of the A and B brackets will be joined together in Group C while the second and fourth seeds will form Group D. As of press time, no quarterfinals schedule has yet been released.

Josef Fuentebella

By Josef Fuentebella

Tinsel Joaquin

By Tinsel Joaquin

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