UNIVERSITY of the Philippines nearly found itself dragged to a decider before surviving a fiery College of St. Benilde side, 25-11, 25-19, 18-25, 25-22, for a share of the lead in Group B in the Spikers’ Turf Collegiate Conference at The Arena in San Juan on Monday.
Julius Raymundo scattered 20 points from 12 spikes, seven blocks, and a service ace, while skipper Alfred Valbuena came with away with 19, anchored on 17 attacks to go with 11 digs for the Fighting Maroons, who won for the second straight game.
The Diliman-based school is now tied with reigning UAAP champion Ateneo on top.
UP coach Melchor Santos didn’t hide how upset he was after the game, as it took him more than an hour to finish his post-game talk with his team.
“Oo medyo na-sermonan (ko sila),” he admitted. “Nag practice kami kaninang umaga para mag-prepare sa gagawin sa laban against St. Benilde. Eh medyo hindi nagawa ng third set kaya medyo natagalan ang usapan.”
The veteran mentor mentioned there were some instructions that were not followed and he and his coaching staff needed to reiterate the rules the Fighting Maroons had to follow within the team.
“Kinusap ko sila (fourth set) kasi ang mga bata hindi nakikinig eh, lalo sa blockings. Kailangan kausapin (and) kailangan nila akong sundin kasi may ibang (plays) na hindi sila sumusunod,” he said.
For a while, the Fighting Maroons appeared ready to be stretched to a deciding set by the Blazers, who led 16-12, at the second technical timeout.
UP then put on the pressure and inched closer, 21-22, before scoring the final points of the match to escape with the win.
Johnvic de Guzman single-handedly took the scoring load for St. Benilde with 21 points, all from spikes.
The Blazers though dropped to an even 1-1 slate for third place.