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In Focus: Why The Recent UP vs. DLSU Volleyball Game Might Just Be A Preview To The Finals

In Focus: Why The Recent UP vs. DLSU Volleyball Game Might Just Be A Preview To The Finals

 

By Rae Marielle Bayanin

Since the opening of the UAAP Season 81 Volleyball season, all of the teams have already had at least one loss except for one team—the De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Spikers. That was until the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Lady Maroons took that chance to sweep the first elimination round from the Green and White team.

For anyone who's an avid fan of the UAAP Volleyball games, they'd probably agree with me when I say that that match between UP and DLSU seemed like a UAAP Season 81 finals game preview a.k.a. the season's best game yet. If you missed watching that game live, here are 5 reasons why you should seriously consider watching the replay and all other remaining games of the season. 

1. The long rallies

The game started off on such a high note and ended on one, too, because both teams were displaying excellent sportsmanship both in offense and defense. What's even more admirable about these student-athletes during a long rally is how they keep at it with everything they've got, even though only a single point will be awarded to the team who ends the rally. For the viewers, long rallies are bad for the heart because we'd be so tensed the whole time until a point is made by either team. Seriously, these long rallies will be the death of us!

2. The exchange of attacks

We love a good volleyball game where players take points off of each other as if they're clapping back from the opponent's last attack. For example, in the first set, DLSU rookie Des Clemente dropped a ball right at the heart of UP's defense. Immediately after that attack, Maristela Layug answers back with a similar point! Watch the intense exchange of attacks in the clip below.

Setters Michelle Cobb (DLSU) and Ayel Estrañero (UP) also have their own version of these back and forth attacks where Michelle pulled a one-two play (faking a set, and dropping the ball on the opponents floor) on UP to which Ayel clapped back with her version. The crowd went wild, of course. We live for this drama and action!

3. Every set was a tug-of-war battle between the two teams

Did we mention that these excellent plays and exchange of attacks lasted for 5 whole sets? Yes, every member of the audience in that arena, whether a DLSU or UP supporter was at the edge of their seat. The scores were close, and captains Tots Carlos (UP) and Des Cheng (DLSU) were making points when it counts. All the rest of the Lady Spikers and Lady Maroons were playing like it's their last game. The live audience really got their money's worth in this showdown!

4. The highest lead by either team throughout the game was 5 just points.

To say that this was a close match is an undertatement because after all, the DLSU Lady Spikers are the defending champs. But gone are the days when the UP Lady Maroons would settle for a bottom two finish in the season. They have proven their worth to challenge the champs and to possibly take away the title from them. If DLSU and UP aren't the true equals in this season, we don't know who are. Check out the game highlights below.

5. The heart and commitment of each and every player

Volleyball fans sometimes get so caught up with the performances of these girls on the court that we forget that they are students still. They are every bit of human as we are. They experience the ups and downs that life has to offer, as we do. So before you begin to hate or "boo" on a student-athlete, let this be a reminder of how much heart they put into each and every game they play.

Maristela Layug was committed to reduce her service errors and she came through. In UP's last game against the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Golden Tigresses, UP suffered a number of service errors in Maristela's hands. It was so painful to watch that the UP crowd even celebrated when she got a service in. But in the match against DLSU, we see a different Layug, and we like it!

 
 
 
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A post shared by Maristela Genn Layug (@maristelalayug) on

Co-captain of the Lady Maroons Ayel Estrañero suffered from food poisoning and could not play in their last game agaist the Golden Tigresses. But in the match against DLSU, she made a comeback so strong that even non-UP students would understand what "Utak at Puso" was all about.

 
 
 
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A post shared by Ayel Estrañero (@ayelestranero) on

May Luna played with a swollen face. You could tell that she was in pain because she was seen crying on the bench of DLSU in one of the sets, but she powered through in the 4th and 5th set anyway, contributing 12 points in the entire match. Now that's dedication!

 
 
 
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A post shared by May Luna (@_maylunaaa) on

The captain of the DLSU Lady Spikers is someone you always see smiling on the court. I guess that's part of the La Salle swag. But in this last game against UP, Des Cheng started tearing up in the 4th set throughout the 5th set. While we know that a captain is supposed to show strength and hold the team together, she showed even greater courage in showing that she, too, was vulnerable. "Ako, papasa ako para sa inyo, pumalo lang kayo sa harap," says Cheng to her teammates in the fourth set. They won that set before UP finally ended the match with their victory in the fifth set. Listen to the graduating athlete's battle cry in the video below.

 
 
 
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A post shared by Desiree Wynea Cheng (@itsmedescheng) on

This weekend has truly been a magical week for all volleyball fans. No team is unbeaten, and no team is winless. We could easily expect tables to turn anytime.

Here's to an even more exciting rest of the season!

ALSO READ: #TheStrongSide: These UAAP 81 Volleyball Stars Get Real On Embracing Their Truest Selves

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