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UAAP: Green Spikers stumble in opening game against Blue Eagles

The DLSU Green Spikers fell to the ADMU Blue Eagles in straight sets, 20-25, 19-25, 25-27, to start off their UAAP season earlier today at the Mall of Asia Arena. 

Blue Eagle Chumason Njigha topped all players with 20 points coming from 18 attacks and two blocks. Meanwhile, John Mark Ronquillo tallied 11 points built on 11 attacks in the losing effort of the Green-and-White. 


Error-prone sets 

The ADMU Blue Eagles drew first blood as the middle blocker, Njigha, hit a back quick attack, sparking a 3-0 run for the Blue-and-White. Ronquillo and team captain Wayne Marco scored the Green Spikers’ first two consecutive points with a back-row attack and a service ace, respectively. Momentum remained on the side of the team from Katipunan as Gian Carlo Glorioso scored from the middle that kept his team in the lead heading into the first technical timeout, 8-6. 

The Green-and-White put all their efforts into catching up with the attacks of the Blue Eagles throughout the set. Ateneo’s Kurt Aguilar, however, was eager to send the Blue-and-White into the second technical timeout with a 16-11 lead. Despite the big lead, this did not bring down the morale of the Green Spikers as they persevered throughout the set, ending with only a five-point deficit, 25-20. 

Errors kept piling up from both teams to start the second set. A service error by La Salle’s Angel Paul Serrano followed by Billie Anima’s net fault gave away the first two points to the Blue Eagles while Sebastian Cuerva from the Blue Eagles committed a service error to give the first point to the Green Spikers, 2-1. It was back-and-forth action until the hit by Blue Eagle Ron Medalla started a 3-0 run, leading the Blue-and-White to the first technical timeout with the advantage, 8-4. 

The team from Taft struggled to create attacks during the latter half of the set as Njihja put up a quick middle play as the team from Katipunan pulled away with a 5-0 run, 23-15. John David Delos Reyes attacked from the middle to stop the bleeding for the Green Spikers, which was followed by an attack from Vince Gerard Maglinao, 23-17. The Green Spikers continued to score through the service line but a drop from Glorioso ended the set, 25-19, in favor of the Blue Eagles. 

Back-and-forth action

In the third set, the Green Spikers increased their energy to match the Blue Eagles. Ronquillo and Maglinao paved the way for the team from Taft with crafty spikes to tie the match at 3-all. 

However, just like in the first two sets, errors plagued the Green-and-White as Anima committed three straight errors coming from attack, net, and service errors to give the Blue-and-White the advantage, 10-9. 

After the second technical timeout, both squads were going head-to-head as Njigha and Ronquillo would answer each other with attacks to keep the score leveled, 19-all. A quick hit coming from Njigha set up Ateneo for match point, 24-23. However, a crucial service error from ADMU captain Lawrence Magadia led to a deuce, 24-all. 

A strong three-man block from the Green-and-White then gave the set point to DLSU, 25-24. However, a lifting error from La Salle’s libero equalized the score, 25-all, giving the team from Katipunan the opening to claim the victory. A block from Ateneo’s Medalla ended the match, 27-25.

The Green Spikers will look to get on the win column as they go up against the UP Fighting Maroons on Tuesday, March 10, at 2 pm at the same venue.

By Drew Beltran Acierto

By Jelie Ann Julia

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