UAAP: Green Spikers notch convincing bounce-back win over Growling Tigers

The DLSU Green Spikers fastened their second UAAP Season 86 Men’s Volleyball win after clawing last season’s runner-up in four sets, 26-24, 23-25, 25-21, 25-15, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena today, February 25.

Rookie setter Jerico Adajar anchored the win for La Salle, accumulating 24 excellent sets that catapulted three spikers into double digits. The masterful play was reinforced by Noel Kampton, who tallied 18 points, while wing hitters JM Ronquillo and Vince Maglinao also clutched 16 points each.

In a losing effort, Josh Ybañez marked 20 big points after tallying 18 attacks, two service aces, and 22 excellent receptions. He was backed by utility spiker Jay Rack De La Noche and open hitter Rey Miguel Dela Vega, who both racked up nine and eight points, respectively.

Fighting for a controlling start

The first set between the Green Spikers and Growling Tigers was a gritty affair, as neither side allowed their opposition any room to breathe. The Growling Tigers got an early two-point lead, but the Green Spikers engineered a plan to set up Ronquillo and Del Pilar for a spike each to tie the game, 2-all. Neither side was able to build a commanding lead, as they traded points throughout the set. On their side, the Green Spikers managed to capitalize on UST’s errors to keep the scoreline tied, 12-all.

The Green Spikers found some momentum as Billie Anima and Maglinao strung together some blocks to spark the Lasallians’ prowess to enable a four-point cushion, 19-15. However, the Growling Tigers capitalized on the errors of the Green Spikers, as they were able to launch a 4-0 run to tie the game once again, 19-all. 

In response, Kampton rose to the occasion with two points off spikes to keep up with the UST run, 21-all. It looked like the Growling Tigers would take the first set after a 3-0 run, but the Green Spikers forced errors and came up with a 4-0 run of their own to win the first set, 26-24.

Tit-for-tat conquest

Coming off an intense set opener, the Growling Tigers gauged the second set with Ybañez and De La Noche relentlessly breaking through the Taft wall, 2-0. With unforced errors piling up from the yellow side, Ronquillo countered with a pipe attack, trailing behind UST, 6-3. As Adajar failed to set up the second ball for La Salle and Anima’s serve went too long, the Growling Tigers managed to extend their lead to five points, making it 10-5. Despite Ronquillo’s back-row hit sparking a 4-1 run, the Tigers still maintained their lead at 11-9.

The set intensified as it reached its midpoint, with both teams exchanging a series of diverse attacks. Despite facing a triple-man block, open hitter Kampton managed to squeeze in an attack, taking the score to 14-12 as De Vega experienced an awkward landing. John Deroroy then substituted the open hitter, who committed a service error upon entering the game; UST was still out front, 15-13. Anima was able to narrow the edge to just one point with a powerful hit from the middle, 16-15—the start of the teams’ trading blows, including a beautiful Maglinao set from Menard Guerrero, which tied the set at 20-all. However, the gritty Golden Spikers ultimately emerged victorious, securing the set with more consistent offensive and defensive plays, ending at 25-23.

Spiking the tigers

After a nail-biting second set, the DLSU Green Spikers looked to bounce back in the third set. They got off to a hot start as Kampton and Ronquillo were set up to score from spikes, followed by Nat Del Pilar’s service ace, 5-1. The team from Taft continued to groove through the third set as Adajar continued to set up Ronquillo and Kampton, and even got Maglinao involved in the scoring party to force UST to call a timeout, 15-10.

The timeout proved to be effective as it looked like UST had seemingly found their footing. Rising to the occasion, Maglinao found himself on the receiving end of Adajar’s set to score and put an end to the team from España’s hopes of an early run, 16-12. Kampton also maintained his confidence as he continued to keep UST’s defense uncomfortable as he scored four more to complement his teammates’ sets, 22-17. The Green Spikers looked locked in to clinch the third set, as they looked for the final touches with 15 spikes. However, the Growling Tigers looked like they were going to launch a late comeback as they closed the gap to three, but Anima’s block ultimately ended the frame to grab the Green Spikers’ second set-win, 25-21.

Manning the ship

The Green Spikers took full control of the fourth set with all players providing quality minutes on the court. Trevor Valera from the Golden Tigers began the set with a swift minus-tempo quick but soon made an error, leveling the score at 1-all. Holdovers of La Salle pinged a smart plug as they unleashed well-placed spikes to notch a three-point lead, 7-4. Despite the powerful crosscourt hits of De La Noche and Ybañez from UST, the Animo squad maintained their advantage at 12-8. 

Del Pilar and Anima further extended La Salle’s lead with a successful kill block and a clever soft tip, pushing the score to 19-13. An anti-climatic antenna touch challenge by UST allowed La Salle to reach the 20-point benchmark, 20-14. With a final 5-1 surge led by Maglinao and Ronquillo, DLSU clinched the match decisively at 25-15.

After the game, DLSU Green Spikers Head Coach Jose Roque shared that the time and effort given in training gave way to the Green Spikers’ favorable result against a formidable opponent, “Talagang matibay ang UST, ‘yon din ang focus namin ngayon, pinaghandaan in a way. Somehow, maganda resulta dahil sa time na binigay sa training. ‘Yon lumabas yung result ng pinaghirapan.”

(UST is really tough, and that was our focus since we really prepared for them. I think the result was good because of the time we spent in training. Our hard work really showed in the result.)

Meanwhile, Adajar who grabbed the player of the game award shared that the early loss against FEU motivated him to come back stronger in their succeeding matchup, Coming from a loss sa FEU, nag-motivate lang sa’kin na napaka-aga ng talong ‘yon na mas mahaba pa ‘yung season, mas marami pang preparation. Sa naging play ko naman against UST mas maraming magandang pasa ngayon, kaya maraming excellent sets nagawa ko today.”

(Coming from a loss against FEU, I was really motivated as the defeat came really early and I just thought that the season is still long and there is still more to be done. For my play today against UST, I think I had more great passes today, which led to more excellent sets.)

The DLSU Green Spikers aim to build on this win and bolster their record further when they take on their bitter rivals, ADMU Blue Eagles, at 12 pm on Saturday, March 2, at the same venue.

The Scores:

DLSU 3 – Kampton 18, Ronquillo 16, Maglinao 16, Del Pilar 5, Anima 3, Adajar 1, Mendoza 0, Poquita 0, Gloria 0, Guerrero 0

UST 1 – Ybañez 20, De La Noche 9, De Vega 8, Valera 7, Flor 6, Umandal 5, Colinares 3, Salvador 2, Dedoroy 1, Avila 0, Prudenciado 0 

Set Scores – 26-24, 23-25, 25-21, 25-15

Zedi Perez

By Zedi Perez

Daniel Quiroga

By Daniel Quiroga

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