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UAAP: Green Spikers aim for bronze after dropping both games versus defending champion Tiger Spikers

The DLSU Green Spikers fell to the UST Tiger Spikers in consecutive games—losing in the final game of the elimination round yesterday, 10-21, 14-21, and again faltering in the semifinals of the UAAP Men’s Beach Volleyball tournament at Sands SM By the Bay earlier today, June 4, 9-21, 10-21.

Lack of experience

Heading into the last game of the elimination round, both DLSU and UST had an identical 4-1 win-loss record. The Green Spikers faltered in the first set, 10-21, as the duo of 2019 Southeast Asian Games Bronze medalist Jaron Requinton and Season 82 Beach Volleyball tourney Most Valuable Player Rancel Varga proved to be too much for Noel Kampton and Vince Maglinao of La Salle. It was the same story for the second frame, with the Taft-based squad once again falling in a deep hole throughout and eventually losing the game, 14-21. 

With that loss, the Green Spikers finished the elimination round with a 4-2 win-loss record to secure third place in the standings and a semifinals berth. Despite struggling against a formidable squad, La Salle still had a shot at reaching the Finals. However, the Green Spikers still had to overcome UST in the Final Four, as the team from España bagged the second spot with their win over DLSU. 

Kampton explained his team’s shortcoming during their elimination game against UST, “[The] biggest problem namin [was] siguro hindi namin ginawa ‘yung role namin as partners—sa blockings ko [and] sa defense ni Vince—kaya natalo talaga kami eh.” 

(The biggest problem was that we didn’t perform based on our roles as partners. Blockings on my end and Vince’s defense were not effective, that’s why we lost.)

Completely overmatched

After the thrashing in the final game of the elimination round, the Green Spikers looked to bounce back against the same opponent: the heavily experienced Tiger Spikers. However, it was much the same story as UST got off to a dominant start in the first set and did not relinquish their momentum. Varga was unstoppable yet again, finding the gaps in La Salle’s defense and hitting offspeed spikes and powerful kills while Requinton neutralized Kampton’s high-flying attacking prowess, coming up with multiple blocks against the rookie star. The Taft-based squad never recovered and dropped the first set, 9-21.

The Kampton-Maglinao duo tried to muster a last ditch comeback but the two-time defending champions maintained a comfortable lead in the second set. UST opened up the set with an 11-point advantage and the Green Spikers were not able to muster a herculean comeback, ultimately losing the second set and the match, 10-21.

Kampton felt that the Tiger Spikers’ experience and talent were too much for the Green Spikers to handle. “Sobrang galing nila, [especially] knowing na ilang years na sila mag-partner. [Hats off] sa kanila; they did well talaga [at mas] deserve nilang manalo kaysa sa amin.”

(They were really good, especially knowing that they have been playing as partners for years. Hats off to them; they really did well and deserved the win more than we did.”

One more shot at glory

With a shot at redeeming their loss in the Final Four, Kampton vowed to give his all in the battle-for-third match tomorrow. “Sa game tomorrow, mag-all out na kami kahit ‘di kami lalaban sa championship. Iisipin namin ‘yung game tomorrow is parang championship na din [kasi] gusto ko maging memorable ‘yung first UAAP [season] ko.” 

(In tomorrow’s game, we will go all out even though we won’t be fighting for the championship. We will treat the game like it is for the championship because I want my first UAAP season to be memorable.)

The Green-and-White still have a chance at a podium finish as they battle the UP Fighting Maroons for a bronze medal at 9 am tomorrow, June 5, at Sands SM by the Bay.

By Aren Reyes

By Raphael Serrano

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