Published on March 3rd, 2018 | by Genrev Josiah Villamin0
DLSU Green Spikers end first round with three-set loss to Ateneo
The De La Salle University Green Spikers lost to the Ateneo Blue Eagles in straight sets, 16-25, 26-28, 22-25, on Saturday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
The Green Spikers were able to match the intensity of the Blue Eagles in the early part of each set. However, the defending champions were too much to handle as La Salle committed mental lapses to end the periods.
La Salle jumped off to a quick 3-0 lead. Third year setter Wayne Marco set up JD Delos Reyes for an attack, but UAAP MVP Marck Espejo answered with his own. Veteran hitter Raymark Woo fumbled a service as Ateneo closed in, 5-3. Espejo, then tied it at 5-all with back-to-back aces. The Blue Eagles marched on to the first technical timeout with an 8-7 lead over the Green Spikers. The latter knotted the set again, 9-9, following a Karl Baysa ball out. Ateneo capitalized La Salle’s errors to put them up by four, 15-11. They led by as much as five, 17-12, with another Green Spiker error. La Salle found themselves on a deep hole as they eventually dropped the set, 16-24.
The protagonists exchanged almost every point to start the second set. They were neck-and-neck up to the first technical timeout with La Salle leading, 8-7. Espejo’s error in his attack gave the Taft-based squad a 9-7 lead. However, Arjay Onia and Woo also committed errors on their end as Ateneo tied it at 9-all. The two teams continued to trade points as La Salle remained ahead at the second break, 16-15. The Green Spikers had a three-point lead, 18-15, before the Blue Eagles scored three consecutive.
With the set still tied at 21-all, Woo found an opening to the Katipunan-based squad’s floor defense. Onia followed it up with a block to put La Salle a 23-21 advantage. However, a service ace by Ron Medalla tied it at 23-all. An Ateneo service error put La Salle to set point, but Gian Glorioso extended the set, 24-all. The Blue Eagles sent the ball out on an attack as La Salle looked to close the set. However, the former scored three straight points to complete the comeback and steal Set 2 from La Salle, 28-26.
Ateneo started the final set with a 7-3 lead over La Salle. They were able to keep the lead as the Green Spikers trailed heading into the second technical timeout, 11-16. Espejo pushed their lead to six, 11-17. But, La Salle quickly gained back the momentum midway through the set. A block by Woo and an Ateneo error pulled them to within one, 16-17. Another rejection by Woo tied it, 18-all. Dumago kept the Green Spikers within striking distance with a crosscourt hit. However, Ateneo broke away, scored three consecutive points to win the set, 25-22, and the match. 3-0.
Espejo paced Ateneo with a game-high 21 points on 18 attacks and three serves. On the other hand, Woo and Onia led La Salle with 11 and 10 in the losing effort.
Green Spikers head coach Norman Miguel lamented his wards’ lack of mental preparation. “Hindi naging prepared mentally yung mga bata. Parang sobrang taas ng expectations nila sa Ateneo.” While he acknowledged that the Blue Eagles are the defending champions, he wanted the Green Spikers to put themselves at the same level as them. “Para sa akin, ang thinking mo dapat is magkalevel na lang kayo. Pantay lang.”
Nonetheless, he described this game as part of the process of maturity.
The loss placed the DLSU Green Spikers to 3-4, tied with UST at fourth place at the tail of the first round of the UAAP Season 80 Men’s Volleyball Tournament. They are currently on pace with their Final Four hopes.
Slowly we’re getting there. May mga lapses pa, pero ganun talaga. Kailangan pagdaanan yung mga ganun. Kasi kung hindi nila pagdadaanan yun, parang nandun ka lang sa dati. Walang growth.
Ngayon, nakikita ko na yung growth. Tiya-tiyagain mo na lang talaga.”