‘Overconfident’ UP just had enough to beat UE in 5-setter

After using them off the bench in their past games, coach Rod Palmero decided to start seniors Evan Raymundo and Alfred Valbuena as UP battled UE Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

The move worked wonders for Palmero as the Fighting Maroons kept the Red Warriors winless with a 25-21, 25-27, 25-19, 20-25, 15-12 victory in the UAAP Season 78 men’s volleyball tournament.

“Sinusubukan ko si Alfred e. Kasi papasok na ng 2nd round, so dapat may mag step-up na senior at makita ko na anduon sila. Kaya ginamit ko na kagad,” he said. 

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“Ngayon medyo (if satisfied on their performance) pero hindi pa natin masasabi na 100% yung ginagawa nila Alfred at Evan. Kaya sinasabi ko, dadahan-dahanin lang natin.”

After dominating the opener, the Fighting Maroons had trouble continuing their momentum in the 2nd set as UE began to heat up.

“Medyo may problema sa kumpyansa yung mga bata. Kaya nahirapan kami,” he told the press. “Alam kasi nila sa sarili nila, nung mga bata, na kayang-kaya nila yung kalaban nila. So nung nagkaron ng mahigpit na laban, yun, yung kumpyansa nila biglang bumaba.”

“Inunderestimate nung mga bata e. Yun yung sinasabi ko sakanila e. Di muna nila inunahan na galawan ng tama bago isipin kung mahina o malakas yung kalaban.”

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“Nakakagulat (laro ng UE). Alam kasi namin hindi naman ganun pinapakita nung UE dun sa mga pinapanuod namin na game tas ngayon biglang naging mahigpit, nag-iba yung galaw,” he added.

Ending the 1st round with a win, Palmero says that he is happy with UP’s performance so far.

“Maganda naman kesa nung mga naunang taon na hinandle ko yung UP. Mas satisfied ako ngayon kesa noon.”

With a 4-3 record, Palmero knows that it’s not yet over for the Maroons, as they will try to deliver better outings in the 2nd round as they jostle for a Final Four slot.

“Paghahandaan lang namin. Syempre yung motivation din sa mga bata.” — By Joyce Palad

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