While not as popular as their female counterparts, the men’s play doesn’t fall short in delivering just as much action and excitement. With the UAAP Season 81 Volleyball Tournament slated to commence on Saturday, here is a preview of some teams in the Senior Men’s division battling for volleyball supremacy.
Ateneo Blue Eagles
The Katipunan squad will try to fill the void left by five-time Most Valuable Player Marc Espejo who tallied 317 points in the previous season (268 attacks, 27 kill blocks and 22 service aces) and five-time Best Setter Ish Polvorosa.
In its rebuilding year, the team will have its new head coach in Timmy Sto. Tomas, a former Blue Eagle who donned the blue and white jersey back in Season 67-71.
Having been the champions for three consecutive years, the handful of talents left in the program is instrumental in bringing back the crown to Loyola Schools. Returning this season is 6-foot-8 Antony Koyfman who skipped last season due to academic reasons. Playing opposite, Koyfman was the top 15 scorer of Season 79, and he came back just in time.
Still part of the line-up are some of last season’s starting six: Gian Glorioso, Chumason Njigha, and Manuel Sumanguid—along with veterans John Rivera and Ron Medalla, who are expected to lead the team in the scoring department.
University of Santo Tomas Tiger Spikers
Last season’s semifinalists, the University of Santo Tomas Spikers, are aiming a better finish this year despite losing some of its key players Arnold Bautista, Jayvee Sumagaysay, and Ty Carodan.
In off-season, the squad had impressive performance as they emerged as back-to-back UNIGAMES Men’s Volleyball Tournament Champions. They also made history for clinching their school’s first silver in the Premiere Volleyball League (PVL) Collegiate Conference last year.
Aiming to sustain their momentum, the team will bank on holdovers Joshua Umandal, Manuel Medina, and playmaker Timothy Tajanlangit. Promising rookie Genesis Redido, who had a stellar performance in the PVL, is also expected to deliver.
De La Salle Green Spikers
The De La Salle Green Spikers could have reached at least a play-off for a final four slot last season had they won their last eliminations game against the FEU Tamaraws.
Just like the others, the team will be on a rebuilding mode as six players from previous roster already exhausted their playing years including main gunners Arjay Onia and Raymark Woo, who tallied 245 points and 260 points, respectively, last season.
Groomed to improve their play, holdovers Keiffer Reyes, John David Delos Reyes, and Wayne Marco are presumed to take the lead.
University of the East Red Warriors
Among all teams, the University of the East Red Warriors struggled the most in the previous season, finishing their campaign with a winless record.
While the UE Boys’ Volleyball team program has been a huge success winning 10 out of the 14 championships, the school has yet to convert it to a collegiate success.
Having been at the bottom of the standings, the Red Warriors can only get better. Leading the squad this season are Clifford Inoferio, Geric Ortega, and Bon Febryx Patacsil.
Graphics and featured image by Roc Verdera.
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