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MU MVT lands on 5th spot in NCAA 98

Article by: Alexandra Isabelle G. Delavin and Alyanna Ysabelle A. Faustino
Photo by: Kristin Clarisse H. Mateo

Right out of the gate coming from a three-year hiatus in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the Mapúa University Men’s Volleyball Team (MVT) proved to be a commanding presence on the taraflex this season during their matches from February 21 to March 19 at the San Andres Sports Complex in Manila. Despite settling for a fifth-place finish with a 5-4 standing, the Mapúa volleyers marked several commendable feats in the elimination round.
In an interview with Utility Spiker and Team Captain Aizran Florendo, he shared how the shift from online to face-to-face training presented itself with difficulty. Nonetheless, the team persisted, training twice a day and even placing third in the Philippine University Volleyball League (PUVL). These pre-season preparations fortified the team’s chemistry and eagerness to win. “’Yung PUVL, sobrang laking tulong niya sa team kasi dun namin na kita ang lapses natin at weak spots, dun din namin mas na buo ung connection sa isa’t isa dahil halos lahat sa amin ay rookies,” he stated.

The Cardinals jumpstarted their campaign with a statement win against the Lyceum of the Philippines Pirates MVT. However, in an early test of their mental toughness, the red and gold squad stumbled against the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights MVT in an intense five-setter. Regardless, the Intramuros-based squad responded to their stunning loss with a straight-set victory against the San Sebastian College-Recoletos Stags MVT.

In their fourth game held last March 1, the grind never stopped for the home team in a big showdown against the Jose Rizal University Bombers MVT. After being down 1-2, the Intramuros-based squad unleashed its finest form to claim the fourth set with a 36-34 score, recording the longest played set of the season. With their juggernaut momentum regained, they fended off the Bombers MVT in a five-set classic. This breakthrough win stamped them as fierce competitors.

In the succeeding games, the red and yellow jerseys had courage and fortitude on full display. Recovering from a defeat against the Arellano University Chiefs MVT, the Cardinals soared above the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde Blazers MVT in straight sets and the pesky Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals MVT in a crucial five-set stunner. For Florendo, this proved to be the most memorable game of the team throughout the season, as they sought to exact revenge from their Season 94 tormentors. “’Yung eagerness po talaga namin na makabawi is nandun kaya talagang ginawa po namin lahat, naging mahirap man ung laro pero at the end sobrang worth it po ung feeling na kapalit dahil na suklian po ung mga pagod hirap at sacrifices namin,” the Team Captain shared.

However, despite a gallant stand in its penultimate matches, the Intramuros-based squad could not overcome the tough stretches against the San Beda University Red Spikers and the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas MVT. In the end, the Mapúa MVT capped off their season with a 5-4 win-loss card, recording four five-set nail bitters, three three-set sweeps, and two four-setters, and claiming the fifth spot.

The team was known to be the best in the service department after 32 service aces last March 8 which, according to Florendo, is one of the skills they focus on during training. “Sa service po talaga nagsisimula lahat, dun mo rin makikita ang kakahayan ng kalaban na pumasa at masira ang play nila,” he added. On the other hand, Outside Hitter Barbie San Andres was recognized as the Best Overall Scorer and the Best Server after 182 points and 20 service aces as of March 18.

Aside from his exemplary ranking in the overall scoring department, San Andres also paved the way for his team, being named the Best Player of the Game in four matches, while Setter Juancho Barba also proved to be an asset after setting up the gameplay for the team and claiming the same title once.

Proving to be an unstoppable force inside the court, the Mapúan community can expect that the Men’s Volleyball Team will aim to soar to greater heights in the upcoming seasons.

Ipinapangako po namin sa Mapúan community na babawi kami next season. […] Babalik ulit kami sa simula at mas papatibayan ang bawat isa upang sa NCAA Season 99, tayo naman! Dalhin din natin sa Intramuros ang korona,” Team Captain Florendo assured.

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