A Tale of Opposite Ends
While throughout the game the Vipers’ attack was flawless, the Tigers struggled mightily with their game plan.
The first set opened up as a back-and-forth affair, as both teams still had fresh legs and full stamina. Both parties exchanged spikes and aces up until the final moments of the set, where the Vipers were able to squeeze through with a narrow 24-26 victory. Jan Villanueva of the Vipers contributed largely to their first set win with his timely plays.
The second set was touted to be as competitive as the first, but the Tigers seemed to lose their footing on their way to a 19-25 ousting. Even though the final score was relatively close, the set didn’t feel as competitive as it was supposed to be, as the Vipers took charge from start to finish. The Tigers managed to come up with some token plays near the end to bring the score closer. B&M Team captain John Paul Navales was brilliant during the second set and reigning tournament MVP Meikel Manaog of the Vipers was also beginning to warm up.
The third set saw a much more relaxed Viper team, as they seemed to have more fun and approached each possession with a visible calm. The Tigers, on the other hand, looked like their confidence was shaken from the previous two sets and dug themselves into an early hole. Joffrey Escoreal of the Vipers was devastating throughout the whole set, seemingly contributing with block, after block, after block.
During the waning moments of the third set and with the scores separated by a comfortable margin, the championship seemed to be within reach for the Vipers. But, the Tigers still had one run left in them and were able to trim the lead down to 2 points. The run, however, would prove to be a little too late, as the Tigers themselves would eventually commit the error that would cost them the game, 24-26.
The valiant block effort of Tiger Nice Bawi was key to their late resurgence.
When asked about what went wrong in their game plan, EA vice-captain Paul Rulona explained that it was a combination of poor execution and bad luck.
“What went wrong is that we didn’t execute the things that we practiced properly and we didn’t adjust as quickly as we normally do. Sayang lang, because as you can see, most of our errors during the third set were service errors. We really doomed ourselves,” He said.