Doc Volleyball: Resurgence of the Powerhouses

AJ Pareja on Feb 07, 2018 07:40 AM
Doc Volleyball: Resurgence of the Powerhouses
Bernadeth Pons’ efficiency especially in clutch situations was highly reminiscent of Mary Anne Manalo during the Lady Tamaraws’ days of dominance.

New beginnings are always exciting. Last weekend’s UAAP Season 80 volleyball opening further reinforces the fact that collegiate volleyball in the country continues to develop.

For the past seasons, the theme that can be observed was that of two top-seeded rival teams pitched in with underdogs looking for an upset.

For the men, it was the Ateneo Blue Eagles battling it out with the National University Bulldogs while for the women, it was the De La Salle University Lady Spikers clashing with the Ateneo Lady Eagles. In previous seasons, the league witnessed these rivals slug it out for top seed while former powerhouses like Far Eastern University and University of Santo Tomas posed a threatening upset.

This recently concluded opening weekend was nowhere near that recurrent theme.

Kicking things off, the second seed NU Bulldogs exhibited top form while trouncing the Adamson Falcons in three sets while the UST Golden Spikers slugged it out with DLSU Green Spikers in a thrilling five-set encounter.

While still far from the fighting form of UST’s former four-peat team, the Odjie Mamon-led squad showed how they could dominate the game given that their passing is on point. UST definitely struck a gem in transferee Josh Umandal, whose height and power are reminiscent of their former MVP JP Torres during their championship reign.

The next day showed the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons quickly dispatching the University of the East Red Warriors. The Maroons’ convincing victory makes them a significant contender for the Final Four this season.

Perhaps the most intriguing twist in the men’s division would be the massive upset dealt by the Far Eastern University Tamaraws to the defending three-peat champions, the Ateneo Blue Eagles.

Ending an eight-game losing streak against the Blue Eagles, the Tamaraws just belted a statement that they are back to reclaim their glory as the best men’s collegiate team much like under during former King Tamaraw, Edjet Mabbayad’s leadership.

The Tamaraws' upset, as well as commendable outings from UST and UP, just show that the men's division would no longer be the usual affair between the Bulldogs and the Blue Eagles, but an all out slugfest as old powerhouses try to reclaim their glory.

In the distaff side, the story this season doesn't stray far at all. The intact Lady Bulldogs team was successful in fending off a feisty Lady Falcons squad, which undeniably benefited a lot from sophomore mentor Airess Padda.

Proving that they are no longer the usual pushovers this season, the remarkable outing of Adamson, despite the loss, elevates them from cellar dwellers to underdog status.

The first day’s main event showcased the former rivalry between the Lady Spikers and the Lady Tigers in a five-set thriller.

Despite the Lady Spikers' win, the defending champions are challenged not to rest on their laurels as old powerhouses try to challenge their supremacy.

With the power and proficiency of Sisi Rondina and Dimdim Pacres comparable to that of former standouts Venus Bernal and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, the tenacity showed by UST showed that they are on a mission to reclaim their supremacy.

The exciting weekend continued the next day with the UE Lady Warriors also proving that they are no longer pushovers from last season. Forcing a veteran-laden UP Lady Maroons squad to a deciding fifth set, the Lady Warriors showed the results of coach Francis Vicente’s building program for the squad.

On the other hand, the Lady Maroons are still considered as a Final Four contender despite key losses in Kathy Bersola and Nicole Tiamzon. This season will definitely be a litmus test for the squad’s new system under Kenyan Coach Godfrey Okumu.

Closing the weekend off with another decider as well as another upset to complement their male counterparts, the FEU Lady Tamaraws dealt a surprising blow to second seed Ateneo Lady Eagles.

Taking advantage of the Lady Eagles’ lapses in passing towards the game’s stretch, the Lady Tamaraws are off to a great start in bringing back the sorely missed crown in Morayta.

Bernadeth Pons’ efficiency especially in clutch situations was highly reminiscent of Mary Anne Manalo during the Lady Tamaraws’ days of dominance.

UAAP Volleyball Season 80 is proving to be more unpredictable than Season 79.

Though the usual rivals such as Ateneo and NU over at the men’s side and Ateneo and La Salle over at the women’s division are still heavily favored seeds, the emergence of the old powerhouses such as FEU, UST, and UP makes it harder to eyeball which teams can dominate this season.

In addition, teams that have been rebuilding in past seasons such as Adamson are proving to be significant threats waiting to pounce on any lapses of the other teams.

The tournament has come full circle and it couldn't be more exciting as the new and old powerhouses battle it out for volleyball supremacy.



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