The DLSU Green Spikers fell to the FEU Tamaraws in four sets, 21-25, 16-25, 25-21, 21-25, earlier today, March 11, at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig.
John Ronquillo led the Green Spikers with 15 points, 13 spikes, and six digs while Noel Kampton added 13 points, 11 spikes, and one service ace in the losing effort.
For the FEU Tamaraws, Mark Calado led the charge with 27 points, 23 spikes, three blocks, and a service ace. Martin Bugaoan chipped in 12 points in the win.
The Green Spikers, coming off a four-set win against UE, started strong with Nathaniel Del Pilar uncorking a kill to break the first deadlock, 2-1. Errors plagued FEU early, keeping DLSU in front going into the first technical timeout, 8-7. But back-to-back errors from DLSU gave the lead to FEU, 9-8, and Calado’s strong attacks sparked the run to inch away from La Salle. FEU captain Jelord Talisayan made his presence known with a strong kill that sent the Tamaraws into the second technical timeout with a five-point lead.
Coming off the timeout, the team from Taft gave a strong fight back against the team from Morayta. The floor defense of La Salle changed the name of the game, converting receptions into attacks as Ronquillo trimmed the lead of FEU to three with a strong cross-court attack, 17-14. La Salle brought down the lead to one point with consecutive errors from FEU, but the team from Morayta showed more poise. Calado unleashed a strong kill to put the Tamaraws at set point before an attack error from the Green Spikers gave them the first set, 25-21.
Falling further behind
The Green and White looked to take back the momentum of the game in the second set, however, Calado picked up where he left off in the first period, beating the blockers to open the scoring. Team captain Maglinao sparked the La Salle attack with two straight points to give the Taft-based squad a 2-1 lead. Bugaoan responded for FEU with a cross-court kill and a running attack. The set continued in this oscillating style with neither team struggling to open up a two-point cushion for most of the period.
The Green Spikers were unable to take control of the game due to service and attack errors that killed their momentum. With the set tied at 15-all, the Tamaraws came alive and went on a blazing 10-1 blitz to close out the second period. Calado led the attack, racking up four points in the run while FEU closed the door on La Salle, coming up with multiple blocks on their way to a commanding 2-0 set lead.
After a dismal first two sets, the Green Spikers roared back and started the set strong with a powerful cross-court attack from their rising star, Kampton. FEU called an early timeout after Maglinao’s down-the-line hit to stay up, 5-1. The team from Morayta failed to respond as the Green Spikers continued to build a seven-point lead off Anima’s quick attack in the middle, 11-4. FEU strung three consecutive points backed by net defense to cut the lead, 11-7. Error-plagued plays from DLSU kept FEU in the game and Coach Arnold Laniog called a timeout to regroup his team, 12-9. Ronquillo answered the call and delivered a power hit off the block and sent the Green Spikers up four, 16-12, into the second technical timeout.
Talisayan and Saavedra scored consecutive points off a power hit for the Tamaraws, 16-14, but the Green Spikers took control and did not look back. With their net defense, DLSU willed their way to win the third set. Three consecutive stops from the net gave La Salle a comfortable five-point lead, 19-14. Kampton sent the Green Spikers into the set with a powerful cross-court hit and Maglinao finished the set with another cross-court to force a fourth set, 25-21.
Coming up short
Looking to force a deciding set, the Green Spikers drew first blood in the fourth set with a Ronquillo kill down the middle. Calado answered back with a powerful spike that was unable to be received. This proved to be the story of the set as the FEU ace carried the load for the team from Morayta, scoring eight points just before the second technical timeout through a variety of attacks and blocks.
The Green Spikers matched the unstoppable individual effort with the combined attacking prowess of Kampton, Anima, and Ronquillo. The Taft-based squad held on throughout most of the set, preventing FEU from going ahead by more than three points. Late in the set, with the scores tied at 19-all, Codilla proved to be the unlikely hero with three straight scores that were capped off by a service ace to give FEU a 22-20 advantage. Kampton gave DLSU’s final blow with a down-the-middle kill that found the far corner but it was too late. The Tamaraws then rattled off three consecutive scores with the final block fittingly coming from Calado to take the set, 25-21, and claim the victory over the Green Spikers.
DLSU will look to regroup when they face the Adamson Soaring Falcons on March 19, Sunday, at the Filoil EcoOil Stadium in San Juan.
DLSU 1 – Ronquillo 15, Kampton 13, Maglinao 12, Anima 10, Del Pilar 7, Serrano 3, Espejo 0, De Jesus 0
FEU 3 – Calado 27, Burgaoan 12, Domingo 9, Cabatac 7, Codilla 3, Saavedra 3, Javelona 1, Martinez 1, Sabanal 1, Cacao 0
Set Scores: 21-25,16-25, 25-21, 21-25