THE TITLE hopes for the men’s and women’s volleyball teams of the Faculty of Arts and Letters (AB) are over after they lost in their do-or-die quarterfinal matches in this year’s Thomasian Goodwill Games.
Aiming for a season comeback, the AB Men’s team bowed and surrendered the ticket to the semifinals to the Graduate School after a 19-25, 25-23, 18-25, and 20-25 duel on Friday.
Jejomar Palma and Hencel Gumabay initially set the momentum for AB in the first set but the strong spikes of Grad School’s Mizhka Manalang marred AB, capped with their service errors and outside hits.
Firing up in the second set, AB gave the Grad School an intense fight with Russell Wilfred Estrada, Wayne Parulan, and Palma burying their spikes with Gumabay’s defensive blocks. AB won the frame, 25-23, with a short spike finish from Grad School.
The forceful spikes of Manalang and Jan Michael Yee assisted by setter Katie Magno regained the pace of the game in the third set. The domination of the trio continued until the fourth set, overpowering the attacks of Parulan and Estrada.
“We had a good run kasi marami kaming naging pagkukulang sa year na ‘to, pero the fact na nakaabot kami ng quarters and maka-four sets kami sa Grad School na alam naman naming napakalakas, it’s a really good run for us.” Palma said. “Siyempre masakit na andoon na sana kaso hindi namin nagawa, pero andoon pa rin ‘yung compensation na at least, nakapag-quarters man lang kami.”
Meanwhile, open spiker Estrada, who suffered cramps in the last set, said, “Fight pa rin kahit may injury, lagi namang ganoon dapat pero kinulang pa rin. Okay lang, wala naman tayong magagawa,” adding they will do better next time.
Utility spiker Parulan added that everyone fought hard to win the game but the team lacked training and communication.
The Faculty of Engineering, on the other hand, prevailed against the AB Women’s volleybelles in a tight five-setter tussle on Thursday, 20-25, 25-22, 20-25, 25-18 and 15-5, ending the latter team’s journey to defend its crown this season.
The defending champions who blazed with three straight wins prior to the tourney’s playoff were marred with succession of errors and chance attacks by the Engineering team, which only had eight players in its roster.
AB and Engineering thwarted each other’s attacks in the first set, until AB got its scoring chances through the attacking errors of Engineering and spikes of team captain Anna Marissa Dizon and Aia Maspiñas, who closed the set with a spike and a service ace for a 25-20 first set advantage.
The two teams kept a tight score in the early parts of the second frame leading to a 15-15 and a crucial 22-22 deadlock.
Stepping up for her struggling team, Engineering’s Renee Tayag launched a spike that notched her team a point above AB followed by a service ace and another spike that drove the Engineering to go above AB, 25-22, subsequently winning the second frame.
Nevertheless, AB bounced back in the third set gaining a 17-10 advantage but was later plagued with consecutive errors allowing Engineering to catch-up, 19-23.
The Engineering crowd filled the P. Noval Court with cheers as Mary Lorenz Barolac blazed a spike—nearing the gap to just three points.
However, Engineering’s net defense and receiving errors halted its momentum in giving away two consecutive points to AB and conceded the set at 25-20.
Outside spikes and short services dragged AB’s bid to claim the fourth set, giving away an early three points to Engineering which later swelled to a 17-11 advantage. Engineering won the set at 25-18.
With the game hanging in the balance and the semi-final berth up for grabs, both teams were hard-pressed to gain a momentum and edge each other in the decision set.
Both sides shared service and receiving errors but it was the defending champion’s offense that withered and defense that wilted in the closing part of the final set as it conceded five consecutive points to Engineering.
Seething offense from Tayag and Barolac’s spikes caught AB off guard as Engineering built a commanding 13-5 lead.
Engineering’s attacker Martina Alipinin powered in a service ace that gave her team the match-point advantage at 14-5. Tayag unleashed a piercing spike, sealing a 15-5 final set victory.
Meanwhile, Maspiñas, who became the focal point of attack in AB’s offense, said lack of communication and willingness to win is the cause of their defeat. “Siguro napagod na ‘yung teammate ko. Walang lumalaban sa amin, walang nag-uusap, walang communication, kaya siguro ‘yung kawalan ng lahat ng bagay na iyon siguro iyon [ang] dahilan kung bakit kami natalo,” Mapinas said.
AB’s Women’s Volleyball team captain Dizon admitted they became confident in facing the Engineering team in the quarterfinal match. “Actually kasi sobrang confident kami before, alam namin na mananalo kami kasi alam din namin ‘yung play ng Engineering and siguro ilan lang dun yung alam naming gumagawa,” she said. F – Mikkah F. Factor and Donn Clarenze D. Gonzales