With twice-to-beat advantage, the College of Engineering (CEng) Tigers unsheathed their claws to edge out the College of Education (CEd) Jaguars and the College of Business and Accountancy (CBA) Lions in the final showdown for this year’s volleyball championship in the Intramural Games.
In the women’s category, Jaguar and Tiger fans alike roared at the very close margin, 26-24, in the first set in favor of the CEng Tigers. The CEd Jaguars however staged a comeback and seized the lead in the second set. Service errors and outside shots dominated the Tigers’ gameplay in the third set, extending the lead that finished at 16-25 in favor of the CEd Jaguars.
The final set began with close scores, until the CEng Tigers slowly increased the gap. With illegal hits and slow reactions evident as both teams showed weariness, the volleyball catfight ended at 15-11 in favor of the CEng Tigers.
The CEng Tigers’ volleyball women team Captain Alison Oliva attributed the victory to confidence and teamwork. Speaking in Filipino, she said, “Ang advantage lang namin siguro ay ‘yung kumpyansa sa sarili, teamwork, at may tiwala naman ako sa bawat isa, na hindi lang ako ‘yung mag-bibuild sa kanila, pati na rin ‘yung sarili nila kaya nilang i-build.”
Meanwhile, the volleyball men event of the CBA Lions versus the CEng Tigers saw a hotly contested exchange of court dominance. Blocking took a major spotlight, as both teams managed to parry spikes hurled against each other. Faulty service and poor reception errors however, did the CEng Tigers in as the CBA Lions took the first set, 22-25.
In the next set, however, the CEng Tigers recovered, 5-1, during the first timeout. The gap widened quickly, allowing the CEng Tigers to dominate the second set, 25-13.
The CEng Tigers also led the beginning of the third set. However, the CBA Lions closed the gap at 6-6. The heated match continued with the CEng Tigers regaining momentum, ending the set at 15-13 in their favor to claim the championship.
Jerome Laqui, team captain of the CEng Tigers, cited the experience of the senior players and the potential of the rookies in the team as the winning edge of their play. “Almost three years na, pero ngayong taong ito buo pa rin kami. Konti lang ‘yung nawala sa amin. Napalitan ang mga nawala ng mga bagong dugo na marurunong din kaya buo ang teamwork namin.”
Professor Danilo Aureada, coach of both men and women CEng Tigers’ teams, also praised the hard work and cooperation of the players, saying that the will to win was the most importance ingredient of their victory.
Prof. Aureada, delighted at the back-to-back win, said in a post-game interview, “In ten years ngayon lang kami nagback-to-back champions sa volleyball men and women. Siguro ‘yun ang gift bago ako magretire.”