UP still in search of first UAAP 86 win after AdU washout

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons endured another pair of sweep losses, now at the hands of the Adamson University (AdU) Soaring Falcons, as both men’s and women’s squads failed to register their first win in the UAAP Season 86 Collegiate Volleyball Tournament on Feb. 24 at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena.

Instead of acquiring their first win of the season, State U hands the Falcons theirs and drops to a 0-2 standing.

Early sinking 

Defensive mishaps and crucial errors marred the UP Men’s Volleyball Team’s chance of emerging victorious against Adamson, 25-27, 15-25, 22-25.

State U significantly lacked effective counterplays as the Falcons ruled with 11 blocks, while UP only acquired three against 24 errors.

Despite a nip-and-tuck opening frame that saw 15 lead changes, Nikko Bersano’s check-ball kill put the Fighting Maroons at set point, 24-25.

However, an ace from Adamson’s Pau Paulino and an error by UP in the ensuing scene ultimately botched State U’s chances of winning the 30-minute-long first set.

The Soaring Falcons then banked on their net defense en route to a 13-23 lead in the second set, eventually setting the stage for a rout.

The same plot ensued early in the third as the Soaring Falcons inflated their lead to seven, 5-12.

Adamson maintained their dominance to keep State U at bay, 13-19, until the maroon shirts narrowed the game to a one-point lead with five unanswered points, courtesy of Brian Chavez, Clarence Santiago and Jaivee Malabanan.

The Falcons then answered with a three-point run before a Daniel Nicolas score put UP at a close 21-23 deficit.

However, UP’s efforts were ultimately spoiled by Adamson with an off-the-block hit by Joel Menor after a service error by Nicolas.

Louis Gamban paced UP with 10 points built from nine attacks and an ace. Meanwhile, second-set hero Angelo Lagando also chipped in nine markers.

On the other hand,  AdU’s Jude Aguilar had 14 points, while Coguimbal and Menor engineered 11 and 9 markers, respectively. 

Not without a fight

The UP Women’s Volleyball Team (UP WVT) suffered their second consecutive defeat in the season after falling short against the unyielding Adamson Lady Falcons, 22-25, 22-25, 26-28. 

The Lady Maroons deny an attack from Adamson. Photo by Ketina Odrunia

UP struggled with a slow start as they trailed behind throughout the opening set, giving way to a 22-25 win for AdU. 

A powerful crosscourt hit by Ishie Lalongisip kicked off the second set and started AdU’s 0-4 run. The Fighting Maroons were set back by their attack errors early in the second chapter. 

Jenn Gould’s strong attack was able to cut the lead to two, 22-24, but it turned out to be UP’s last point as Lalongisip ended the set similar to how she started it.

UP began the third set with a 2-0 run to mount their first lead of the entire match before the two teams sparked neck-and-neck exchanges that brought the game to a 24-all deadlock.

However, AdU’s running attack by Mary Ann Nuique and a successful challenge against Niña  Ytang’s net touch ultimately gave the Maroons another loss.

Ytang, last season’s second-best middle blocker, led the Maroon squad with 18 points coming from 12 attacks and six blocks. 

For Adamson, Lalongisip played an all-around match with 12 points, from 11 attacks and one block to go with her 16 excellent digs.

The Fighting Maroons will strive to enter the winning column as they face the Ateneo Blue Eagles on Wednesday, Feb. 28, at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.