When UP coach Rod Palmero called his name off the bench, team captain Alfred Valbuena responded well.
Despite entering the game midway through the last set already, Valbuena leaned on experience to help the Fighting Maroons punch frustrate UST in the UAAP Season 78 men’s volleyball tournament Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
“Kalahati ng 4th set inisip ko di na ako ipapasok dahil maganda ginagawa ng team, kaso biglang mamaya nag off-game ‘yung rookie namin kaya inisip ko chance ko na ‘to,” said Valbuena.
Valbuena went on to score the match point while collecting 4 in limited minutes.
With the match on the line and UST staying close, Palmero decided to unleash Valbuena to seal the victory for the Diliman spikers.
“Si coach kasi gustong magka-experience ‘yung rookies para sa bandang dulo, mahinog naman sila,” the senior outside hitter said.
Admitting that they don’t have a concrete gameplan coming into the match, Valbuena is contented on whatever the set-up will be for their future games.
“Ready naman ako palagi if every game ganoon ang set-up namin,” he said. “Mindset ko positive lang, lahat ng bola ibibigay sa akin papatayin ko, tapos service tsaka dedepensa akong maganda.”
Despite having 6 players on the roster playing in their 1st year, the Maroons skipper knows that they can still perform better this season.
“Overall naman, ‘yung game namin maganda pero alam namin may kaya pa kaming ibuga,” Valbuena added.
The win enabled the Fighting Maroons to bounce back after their opening loss to get an even 1-1 card while the Growling Tigers started the season with back-to-back losses. — By Jason Mercene