THE Faculty of Arts and Letters men’s volleyball team bagged the championship, 22-25, 18-25, 25-15, 26-24, 16-14, against the three-time defending titlist College of Commerce and Business Administration in front of a boisterous crowd at the Quadricentennial Pavillion last September 20.
The game was headlined by spectacular performances of tournament Most Valuable Player Ju-neil Manalo of AB, who led his team with 28 markers to offset a 43-point onslaught from Commerce star Carl Ortega.
“Puso lang talaga, we made sure na lahat kami gagalaw as one at yung goal namin, iisa lang, yung manalo at maging champion. Kahit lumalamang sila, kahit nahirapan kami kay Ortega, tuloy pa rin kami at basta buo kami, dun kami humugot ng lakas,” Manalo told TomasinoWeb.
It was a seesaw battle from the beginning. A confident Commerce team raced to a 7-1 start in the opening set as Ortega immediately made his presence felt, forcing AB coach Paul Jan Doloiras to call an early timeout. The Artlets responded by scoring 18 of the next 27 points to claim the lead at 19-16, but it was short-lived as Commerce regained composure to close out the first set, 25-22.
With Ortega’s killer spikes and well-placed drop shots overwhelming the blue side, Commerce seemed to be on its way to a fourth straight men’s division title, winning the second set easily, 25-18.
But AB started to get its act together, taking advantage of their relaxed opponents to get the third set, 25-15. The final two sets were much more competitive as both teams engaged in a furious back and forth that featured 15 deadlocks. The Artlets completed their spirited comeback, edging out Commerce, 26-24 and 16-14, respectively.
“Ang nangyari sa third set, miscommunication at wala nang teamwork kaya natalo kami. Medyo pagod na rin yung mga tao ko, hirap na rin kami mag-receive, kaya ayun,” said an obviously disappointed Ortega.
On the women’s side, the College of Commerce and Business Administration beat Architecture, 27-25, 7-25, 25-22, 25-20.
By Nicolo Paolo A. Pascual
Photo taken by Joan Fernandez