UP skipper Wendel Miguel eyes finals appearance

UP Diliman and UPLB's men volleyball teams posed after the game. Ivan Saldajeno
By Ivan Saldajeno

LOS BAÑOS—The year 2016 was a breakout year for UP's volleyball program as both of its teams made the Final Four of the UAAP tournaments even as the women's volleyball squad made the Final Four of the Shakey's V-League Collegiate Conference.

For next year, however, the men's side is eyeing at least a chance to grab all the marbles.

"Inabot na namin ang Final Four, so kailangan mas mataas pa sa Final Four [ang pakay namin] ngayon," team captain Wendel Miguel told Dugout Philippines on Saturday after the Quezon City spikers took on their Los Baños counterparts in a tune-up match at the Copeland Gym inside UPLB, implying his team's goal of making the finals.

The "Diliman vs. LB" clash served as part of both Fighting Maroons' preparations for their respective upcoming tournaments, the UAAP for the Diliman side and the LACUAA and the SCUAA for the LB squad.

UP Diliman turned back UPLB in straight sets, 25-18, 25-16, 25-21, but both sides opted to still play Sets 4 and 5 with the last set being a full race-to-25 affair to prepare them for longer games.

Asked about their Laguna counterparts' gallant stand in which they even led at some points during the match, the fourth year open spiker said, "Kaya naman nilang manalo kahit sino pa yung kalaban."

Miguel, meanwhile, revealed that the said scrimmage could be the QC spikers' last tune-up game as they are devoting the rest of the year for strengthening.

"Pinapalakas namin yung mga kulang namin last season. Sobrang taas ang binigay naming challenge para sa sarili namin," the skipper added.

Evaluating their LB experience, which was their first visit ever, Miguel said, "Sobrang saya namin kasi welcome na welcome kami dito."

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