As the DLSU-D squad resurfaced in the 16th Brother president’s Friendship and Solidarity Cup (FSC) after not joining last year, FSC’s latest fourth placers Lyceum of the Philippines – Laguna (LPU-L) Pirates were DLSU-D’s first victim as the Patriots fled over the Calamba-based squad with 25-22, 23-25, 25-23, and 25-17 tallies at the De La Salle – Lipa Sports Complex on February 19.
Promising rookie and 18-year-old Noorzahed Hadjula triggered the Animo spikers’ fire as he racked up 12 points and timely blocked five volleyballs from the Pirates’ court.
Looting the Pirates
In the fourth and eventual final set, the Dasmariñas-based squad established a firm foothold as they pushed LPU-L into the pit by a 9-4 surge, 16-13. Putting his teammates on cloud nine, Patriot Jayric Racelis scored the last two marks⎯and his only contributed points⎯with a through-the-block spike following a singled-handed block against the star-spiker Pirate Olan Kendrick Canobas, 25-17.
Leading the takeover of the Pirates’ ship, Patriot ace Eddiemar Kasim punched through 17 points while Aidam Adam tallied 11 points on top of two blocks and three aces. Meanwhile, holdover Patriot team captain Al-sharin Abdulwahab posted one point off a dump that fooled the Pirates⎯which was pivotal in capping off the third set. With the Pirates trying to turn the tables by a 4-1 run that began the 23-19 mark in the third canto, 24-23, Al-sharin casually dumped the volleyball on the Pirates’ court.
Taunting among players was inevitable in the game, which was a problem for Patriot coach Al-frazin Abdulwahab whenever the young Patriot team was up in the scores. “Sabi ko sa kanila, patay na ang kalaban. ‘Wag niyo na buhayin, pag patay na, ituloy niyo na … ‘wag na pansinin ‘yung sawsaw ng kalaban [at] ‘yong mga yabangan,” coach Abdulwahab concluded.
Dodging the Cougars’ claws
Despite sitting out the starters, the DLSU-D spikers’ bench was still outrageous for the incomplete Calayan Educational Foundation, Inc. (CEFI) Cougars as the Patriots capped their return in 16th FSC with another triumph tallying 25-17, 25-23, and 25-20 at the same venue.
The Patriots’ dominance ensured garbage time for the Cougars in the beginning, as Patriots Eddiemar Kasim, Al-Khaizar Que, and Chandler Salapuddin led the offensive spikes with nine, seven, and five points, respectively.
It was an easy victory for DLSU-D as they only scored 36 of the 75 points in three sets⎯39 of whom are from the Cougars’ unforced errors.
“Pinaubaya ko na sa second six, para sa exposure na rin nila … kung gaano kalakas ‘yong [tiwala ko sa] first six [ko], gano’n rin ako katiwala sa second six.” Patriot head coach Al-frazin Abdulwahab shared as they celebrated.
Hoping to carry on the momentum, DLSU-D will battle St. Michael Laguna at the DLS-L Old Gym, 9 AM, and Emilio Aguinaldo College – Cavite at the DLS-L Sports complex, 1 PM, on Sunday, February 26.