UAAP: DLSU pummeled the Fighting Maroons, clinched first win

The DLSU Green Spikers grabbed their first win of the UAAP Season 85 Men’s Tournament after running through the UP Fighting Maroons in straight sets, 25-21, 25-20, 25-19, earlier today, March 1, at the PhilSports Arena. 

Star hitter Noel Kampton led the way for the Green Archers with 13 points and six excellent digs, bagging player of the game honor. Billie Anima provided 12 points, including four blocks, while setter Angel Paul Serrano orchestrated the offense with 21 excellent sets.

For the UP Fighting Maroons, Angelo Lagando led the scoring with 11 points while Captain Louis Gamban and Jessie Rubin contributed nine and seven points, respectively. 

First Blood

With a powerful hit coming from the opposite side, Gamban kicked off the match and scored the first point. However, the Green Spikers took the lead after the Fighting Maroons committed three straight errors, 3-1. Both teams were neck and neck in the first stretch of the match, but Serrano activated middle blockers Anima and Nathaniel Del Pilar to clinch a three-to-nothing run. Gamban unleashed a powerful spike from the middle, cutting the lead down to one, 16-15. Del Pilar answered back with a zero-tempo quick attack, bringing back a two-point cushion for the green and white.

Approaching the last bit of the first set, errors piled up for La Salle, leaving UP with only a one-point deficit. Yet, Noel Kampton exploded with two clean hits, and John Mark Ronquillo guarded the net with a soft block to reach set point, 24-21. It didn’t go as favored for the Maroons, as they committed an attack error that closed the first set 25-21.

Pushing Ahead

Building off the first set momentum, Ronquillo blasted an opposite hit that gave the Taft-based team the first point of the second set. Angelo Lagando used a soft hit to fool the defense giving his squad an early set lead, 3-1. Both squads traded blows in the early going, but a clean middle hit by Jessie Rubin gave UP the lead, 8-7.

The Spikers rallied and used three straight down-the-line attacks from Ronquillo to build an 11-9 lead midway. Both squads traded errors and hits throughout the set, but a variety of consecutive hits and a block from Del Pilar secured his squad a 22-16 lead. Trying to rally back, the Maroons tried to get back at the men in green with quick attacking, but an attacking error from Gamban and another attempt thwarted by Vince Maglinao’s block, put the Spikers at match point, 24-17. Several attempts gave the Maroons some life, but a middle attack from Anima sealed the deal for the Taft-based squad, grabbing the second set, 25-20.

Ended with Ease

With the upper hand on La Salle’s end, the Katipunan-based squad sought to shift the momentum as they unloaded two powerful hits to start the third set. Eager to end the match in straight sets, Kampton swung from the pipe and scored off the hands of Gamban. This was followed by a single-man block of team captain Maglinao making it a three-to-nothing run. It was a heated chase as Rubin hammered a quick attack to keep a close distance to the Green Spikers, 7-5. Kampton answered back with a powerful down-the-line hit that led to the first technical timeout of the third set. 

Outside hitters Lagando and Gamban stopped the bleeding as they scored back-to-back points to keep UP afloat, 9-8. However, Serrano forced the Fighting Maroons to a timeout as he scored an ace with his jump-float serve.

It was crunch time for the Spikers in white, as they had a four-point separation coming from swift spikes and a kill block. Ranz Cajolo, on the flip side, tipped the ball into the donut hole that contained the little run of La Salle, 15-12. Gamban came to the rescue as he denied Von Marata, who came in as a substitute for Maglinao. Even though he was fresh from the bench, Marata introduced himself to the court as he pounded two consecutive down-the-line hits. With the score at 18-15, Kampton and Lagando exchanged points, varying from soft touches and power tips. 

Also a new face on the court, Jules De Jesus came on time to unload an emphatic down-the-line spike pushing a comfortable six-point lead. He further exerted dominance, hitting the ball in the same spot making it a seven-point cushion. Lagando didn’t lose hope as he rifled two more attacks for the UP Fighting Maroons, 23-18. Hot-handed, Jules made his presence felt as he swung for the last time to secure the win for De La Salle University, 25-19. 

The Green Spikers seek to capture another win against their archrivals, Ateneo Blue Eagles, at 5 pm, Sunday, March 5, at the Mall of Asia Arena. 

The Scores:

DLSU – Kampton 13, Anima 12, Del Pilar 9, Ronquillo 9, Maglinao 6, De Jesus 3, Marata 2, Serrano 1

UP –  Lagando 11, Gamban 9, Rubin 7, Nicolas 4, Cajolo 4, Ijiran 3, Santiago 1

Set Scores: 25-21, 25-20, 25-19

Joaquin Constantino

By Joaquin Constantino

Zedi Perez

By Zedi Perez

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