UAAP: UP rallies to stun Ateneo for first win in men’s volleyball
MANILA, Philippines — Louis Gamban and Jaivee Malabanan willed the University of the Philippines back to beat Ateneo, 13-25, 22-25, 26-24, 39-37, 15-11, for its first win in the UAAP Season 85 men’s volleyball tournament on Wednesday at FilOil EcoOil Centre.
Gamban delivered 22 points, 16 excellent receptions, and 14 digs as he powered the Fighting Maroons’ furious rally, nailing the clutch hits in the grueling fourth set, which reached 14 deuces before the UP captain fired the set-clinching attack to force a decider.
“We trained to leave everything on the floor and play all out,” said Gamban in Filipino after snapping a nine-game skid. “We showed our fighting spirit to keep on fighting and not to give up. This is the UAAP so we have to give an all-out performance.”
UP pulled away in the fifth set with a 4-0 start with Angelo Lagando scoring all his three points for an 11-7 lead. Substitute Abai Llenos kept Ateneo afloat with five points in the set, trimming the deficit to two, 11-13. But Jian Salarzon committed a crucial attack error before Malabanan ended the two-hour and 48-minute game with a through-the-block kill.
The Fighting Maroons coach Rald Ricafort lauded his wards for not giving up despite playing on the brink of elimination.
“They had a wake-up call earlier to keep their emotions in check. They persevered. Our long game in the fourth became our advantage. We were able to keep our momentum because that’s what we do in practice,” said Ricafort in Filipino.
Malabanan finished with 21 points and 19 digs for UP. Ranz Cajolo chipped in 18 points, while Jessie Rubin added 10 markers including four blocks.
Ateneo’s three-game winning streak got snapped as it dropped to a 5-5 record with Salarzon’s 30-point explosion going for naught.
Salarzon poured in 24 attacks, five blocks, and an ace. Ken Batas and Charles Absin contributed 18 points each, while Amil Pacinio added eight markers, 21 receptions, and 13 digs.