MANILA, Philippines—Ben Phillips had mixed emotions when he finally made his UAAP Season 85 men’s volleyball debut for the La Salle Green Spikers on Sunday at Filoil EcoOil Centre.
“Sobrang excited ako and sobrang nervous kasi hindi ko alam pasok sa court pero as soon as sabi ni coach na: Oy pasok na! [I was like:] Totoo ba?,” said Phillips, who was fielded late in the third set of their game against Adamson.
But the 6-foot-8 middle blocker was more excited than jittery when he entered the court and nailed his first quick attack to give La Salle a 21-17 lead in the third set en route to their 25-21, 25-18, 25-20 sweep of Adamson.
“I was really excited because I’ve been working really hard with the team. I’m really thankful to my family and the coaching staff has been really really helpful with my training. Thank you to coach Arnold (Laniog),” said Phillips, who also plays center for La Salle’s men’s basketball team.
Phillips is also grateful for Green Archers coach Topex Robinson, who has been supportive of his cross-training in volleyball and basketball.
“I’m so thankful to coach because he let me do the cross training when I go the basketball season my legs should be stronger, my vertical jump would be higher,” he said. “Volleyball is really good cross-training with basketball so hopefully, we’ll see more dual sports athletes in the future.”
La Salle star Noel Kampton lauded Phillips, who trains for two teams and studies Master of Business Administration.
“Ben is a basketball player so he trains with us from 1 to 4 pm and then from 4 to 7 with basketball. His dedication is different,” said Kampton in Filipino. “I keep on telling Ben you have potential because Ben is a smart student and athlete. He’s a good player. You’re my idol bro.”
Phillips is honored to be a dual-sport athlete and be part of the men’s volleyball return after three years, urging more fans to support their sport.
“It’s really nice, especially for my teammates who haven’t really played UAAP in three years. Hopefully, we really have a good first round and hopefully, more Filipinos will support men’s volleyball because it’s really an exciting sport,” Phillips said. “Obviously, [let’s support] women’s team but I hope more people come to watch men’s volleyball because it’s a beautiful sport.”
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