MANILA, Philippines—University of the East played without Lloyd Josafat but still survived also-ran Adamson, pulling off a come-from-behind win, 25-16, 24-26, 25-27, 30-28, 15-8, to keep its Final Four hopes alive in the UAAP Season 85 men’s volleyball tournament on Saturday at Philsports Arena.
Kenneth Culabat willed the Red Warriors back from a 1-2 match deficit with a game-high 24 points off 21 attacks, two aces, and a block on top of 12 receptions, while Joshua Pozas stepped up in the absence of Josafat, who missed the game along with UE coach Jerome Guhit due to their commitments with the men’s national team.
Pozas scored six of his 14 points in the fifth set as he lifted UE to pull away with a 9-3 start before Adamson stopped the bleeding scoring three straight points capped by Francis Casas’ off-the-block kill to trim the deficit to three , 9-6.
The Red Warriors stayed composed and got a 12-7 advantage after a video challenge by the referee, which took more than 10 minutes to show that JP Mangahis touched the spike of Joshua Magalaman but the game official still called it an attack error for the Falcons ,
Casas cut down the lead, 13-8, but Culabat’s block and Pozas’ clutch attack ended the two-hour and 39-minute game as UE improved to a 4-7 record.
“I thought of what coach said to us: We have to want this win,” said Pozas in Filipino. “My mindset was to do my responsibilities because [Lloyd] didn’t play so we did what we had to do.”
After winning the first set convincingly, the Red Warriors had the chance to end the game in straight sets but they squandered a pair of 24-21 leads in the second and third, allowing the Falcons to fight back and take a 2-1 advantage.
Adamson was on the verge of winning the match in the fourth, 24-21, but UE fought back and saved a couple of match points with Giles Torres nailing two consecutive points from a quick attack and blocking to force a decider.
“The team is still lacking maturity. They lost their cool and had misunderstandings inside the court earlier so they played overeager. I don’t have any more timeouts [in the fourth] when we were trailing but I told them to communicate to resolve the situation because it’s not about the skills anymore, it’s all about teamwork. Good thing they followed,” said UE assistant coach Jumbo Dimaculangan, who called the shots in Guhit’s absence.
“I think after this [the team will treat it] nothing personal. What happens in the court, stays in the court. Outside the court, they are brothers.”
Mangahis also scored 14 points and had 25 receptions and 18 digs for UE. Torres finished with 12 points including four blocks, while JM Andaya added 12 markers.
Adamson lost 10 of its 11 games despite Casas’ 20-point effort. Marc Kenneth Paulino had 18 points, while Magalaman and Jude Aguilar added 11 and 10 markers, respectively.
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