The University of St. La Salle men’s volleyball team clawed their way out of a 2-0 hole and won the next three sets in an epic final match to dethrone Far Eastern University and win their second title in the University Games after 14 years. The score: 19-25; 20-25; 25-16; 25-17, and 23-21.
The Stingers advanced to the championship round after beating University of Sto. Tomas in three sets in the semifinals, 25-22, 25-16, 25-19, while the Tamaraws bounced back from a first set loss to tame Adamson in four sets, 13-25, 25-18, 25-22, and 25-19, to book another trip to the finals.
Before a packed crowd at the USLS College Covered Court, the USLS men’s team refused to give up and valiantly stood their ground despite falling behind 2-0.
Digging deep into their bags of tricks with head coach Roger Banzuela and assistant coach Malot Lozada urging them on from the sideline, the Stingers got their break in the third and fourth sets as the Tamaraws failed to contain the attacks from team captain Roelene Inaudito and Kerwin Reje.
The fifth set was a battle of skills and grit with the USLS denied of a match point at 14-12 as FEU hammered through the block to set the score at 14-13, before tying the game at 14-all.
As both teams tried to gain advantage, the Stingers held on until finally winning the match at 23-21.
Meanwhile, the USLS women’s team relinquished their crown to De La Salle University in three sets, 29-31, 19-25, 14-25.
In football, USLS bowed to FEU, 5-4, in extra time after regulation ended at 3-all at the Panaad Park and Stadium.
Veteran Jess Melliza anchored FEU’s offense and scored three goals to secure the title for the Tamaraws.
Chess competition at the UniGames this year was dominated by defending champion St. Benilde in men’s group, while FEU was overall champion in women’s.
Aside from USLS, local team University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos also won medals, a silver in women’s table tennis and men’s volleyball, and a bronze in sepak takraw and women’s shot put. Vaneza Joy Galunan of the UNO-R women’s chess team won the gold in Board 5.*NAB
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