January 25, 2023

Vanguard outlasts NU-Archipelago in debut

Vanguard dealt National U’s title-retention drive a big blow as it hacked out a 25-18, 18-25, 26-24, 13-25, 15-10 decision to make it a four-way tie for the lead in the early going of the 2023 Spikers' Turf Open Conference on Wednesday at Paco Arena.


The Volley Hitters recovered from a blowout loss in the fourth with a strong start in the decider then warded off the NU Archipelago Builders’ comebacks to carve out the victory that lined up Vanguard with the Imus, Army, and Air Force in the lead in the 11-team tournament.


Razzel Palisoc fired 20 points while Vince Abrot and Jovs Camaganakan backed him up with 15 and 13 markers, respectively, as the Volley Hitters outhit the Builders, 51-37, to make up for their deficiency in blocking and service, which NU took, 10-4, and 11-7, respectively.


Vanguard also yielded 44 points off their miscues while netting 35 from the Builders’ errors. But the Volley Hitters’ dominating 12-3 start in the fifth frame proved decisive for one of the four new teams in the league.


NU sorely missed the services of its former stalwarts, including Nico Almendras and setter Ave Retamar, but flashed resilency in the fourth to force a decider, only to crack when the going got tougher.


“Laruin lang nila ung laro nila kasi mga bata ang kalaban. Kaso pag binigyan mo ng pagkakataon yan, agresibo yan at talagang dadalihin tayo,” Vanguard head coach Edjet Mabbayad told his wards heading to the fifth.


The young NU side drew 14 points and 14 excellent receptions from Mac Bandola while Leo Ordiales and Bryan Jaleco put in 10 points apiece.