October 13, 2023 (11:13 PM)

4 min read


TITLE SECURED. The B&M Vipers maintained their winning streak against the SEA Tigers during the volleyball championship games of the Palarong Atenista 2023 last Thursday, October 12.

Photo by Ryan Nathaniel Balleza

Last year’s finalists, the Business and Management (B&M) Vipers and the School of Engineering and Architecture (SEA) Tigers treated a rowdy Atenean crowd with a 20-25, 25-22, 25-23, 20-25, 15-13 clash in the volleyball championship match of the Palarong Atenista 2023: The Next Level.

After a grueling 5-set marathon, the Vipers ultimately came out on top to spoil the Tigers’ bid for vengeance—banking heavily on their balanced offensive arsenal to slam the doors shut on the entire SEA faithful and Christian Tan’s 39-point lifting.

Leading the charge for the Vipers was opposite hitter Roy Lorenze Yee, who registered 18 points. Hard-hitting jump server, Vincent Larrobis, backstopped the charge with 13. 

Already with 10 points throughout the match, it was outside hitter Reiner Dela Cruz’s eleventh point that sent the blue side in the Martin Hall to a frenzy, putting the Tigers’ late storming attempt at a sudden dead end at 15-13.

“During the fifth set, it was kinda nerve-wracking to think that we weren’t behind [by] two points, but even though we were on a tough spot, I was just thinking na ‘the fight is still not over until it’s over’ and the only thing that’s on my mind,” Dela Cruz said, who was hailed as last year’s Best Server.

“That winning point was memorable because it hits different when you’re the one who finished the match. Of course, I feel honored that I’m still part of the team and won back to back titles for our cluster,” the sophomore BS Finance major added.

Escaping by the skin of their teeth

After a first-set hiccup marked by poor service reception and setting woes, the Vipers came alive in the second frame, answering a 4-point run by the Tigers with their own 6-1 run at the 20-point mark, leading the Viper middle blocker Miguel Saguid’s quick hit to tie the game 1 set all.

An injury scare almost sucked the noise out of the hall midway through the third set when Saguid landed awkwardly after an apparent left leg cramp. 

Nevertheless, long rallies and the trading of kills and nifty tips sustained the intensity of the match, with no team allowing the other to stretch their lead by as far as 5. It was B&M, however, that snatched the tightly-contested third set. 

The Tigers found their groove back and won the fourth set thanks to the all rounder heroics and highly-efficient spiking of Christian Tan, who exploded with 12 points in that set alone. 

However, the stars had already aligned for the Vipers even in the early stages of the deciding set, after the Tigers committed several unforced errors just in time when the Vipers had crystallized their stable serve-passing unit. 

B&M rode on this momentum as they reached match point first. A defensive miscue from the Vipers, coupled with a sharp back row kill from Tan, opened the possibility of a deuce for the Tigers, but, not until Saguid and Dela Cruz hammered the deathblows to end the match in their favor.

“Teamwork. We trusted each other every step of the way, followed the system, and played for everyone who rooted for us,” Vipers’ starting setter and captain Dave Ng said.

Despite being called to sub-out at the latter part of the game, Ng has only positive words to pay tribute to his 14-man team. 

“One thing I would highlight is our second stringers. They played a huge role in this success…we kept substituting players in and out of the court, and with the help of our coaches, we were able to fix certain lapses inside. We are grateful for having such a deep bench,” the sophomore Business Management major told Atenews.

Just like last year’s, completing the final four cast for the Palaro volleyball titans are the Accountancy Griffins and the Social Sciences Dragons. 

However, luck sided with the Griffins this time, as they successfully avenged their bronze medal loss with a statement win over the Dragons last Sunday, October 8, at the Martinez Sports Complex. 

The finals match was held at the 7th Floor Martin Hall on October 12.

End the silence of the gagged!

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