UAAP: Green Spikers stamp authority over UE, AdU, drop matches vs NU, UST in Beach Volleyball crusade

The DLSU Green Spikers were off to a shaky start during the opening weekend of the UAAP Season 86 Men’s Beach Volleyball tournament last November 17 to 19 at Sands SM by the Bay, marking two wins and two losses. Veteran Green Spiker Vince Maglinao, Andre Espejo, and Von Marata bannered the Green and White in the tournament.

Riding on the high from their recent indoor V-League championship, they began their beach volleyball campaign, carrying with them confidence as they returned to the sands of the UAAP Men’s Beach Volleyball tournament. Upon recognizing their strengths on the court, Maglinao revealed how they plan to execute their defense before setting up their offense. “Si Andre (Espejo) is our blocker and then ako [floor] defender. Ayon, part ng pattern namin ‘yon.”

(Andre Espejo is our blocker, and I am the floor defender. That’s our defensive pattern.)

Getting their grove

The Green Spikers pulled away quickly during their match against the trio of the UE Red Warriors Jake Abria, Allen Buensalida, and Julian Celestial to begin their beach volleyball campaign on a high note, 21-13, 21-16. The gutsy NU Bulldogs, who were runners-up of the previous season, gave the Green and White their early first loss, 21-13, 21-12, with James Buytrago and Pol Salvador leading the pack, backed up by their third man Alex Iraya.

The Taft-based squad was quick to recover and entered the win column again as they outlasted Francis Casas, Dan Gutierrez, and Mustadil Laja of the AdU Soaring Falcons, 21-13, 21-12. The smart ball placements from a variety of attacks by Maglinao and Espejo were key to the second victory of DLSU. 

But the four-peat champions UST Growling Tigers, led by the reigning MVP Rancel Varga along with their new player Alche Gupiteo and Dominique Gabito, made short work over the error-riddled Green Spikers, 21-9, 21-8, to give La Salle their second drubbing. The Growling Tigers are yet to drop a set in the tournament and remained flawless with a 4-0 win-loss record with this win against the squad from Taft.

Staying on track

After concluding their games with defeats against the top two squads of the previous season, UST and NU, Maglinao shared that they did not feel intimidated by them. “Natuwa din kami kasi sila yung una namin nakalaban na dalawang pinakamagaling na teams dito. Marami rin kaming natutunan going sa mga future games namin this elimination round.”

(We are glad that we faced the two best teams first. We learned a few things going into our future games in this elimination round.)

With DLSU in limbo with a 2-2 record, Maglinao remains optimistic about how the team will perform in the upcoming games. “Sa next weekend siguro ipo-polish namin ‘yung kailangan namin i-polish sa loob ng game at paghandaan yung mga remaining games namin.” He also wanted the team to play as they were and not feel discouraged by their opponents. “[I am] looking forward to play better…para makapasok ng Final Four. Pero sa amin, no pressure. We just want to play the game for the love of the game.”

(Next weekend, we will polish the skills we have to polish inside the game and prepare well for our remaining games. I am looking forward to playing better for us to enter the Final Four. But there is no pressure for us. We just want to play the game for the love of the game.)

Still hopeful for a podium finish, the DLSU Green Spikers will look to stack more wins in their match against the FEU Tamaraws and their archrivals ADMU Blue Eagles on November 24, 7:45 am and 3:30 pm, respectively, and close out the elimination round versus the UP Fighting Maroons on November 25 at Sands SM by the Bay.

Luis Agus

By Luis Agus

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