Almendras apologizes over meltdown
Nico Almendras has promised his National University teammates that he will always keep his temper in check. Photo courtesy of UAAP
An apologetic Nico Almendras regretted his actions in the previous outing that resulted in him getting booked with yellow and red cards and banned in the opening set of the three-peat-seeking National University’s match against University of the East.
He returned in the second set to help the Bulldogs down upset-conscious Red Warriors, 22-25, 22-25, 25-14, 25-22, 15-6, to remain unbeaten in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 85 men’s volleyball tournament on Sunday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
The open spiker was forced to leave the court before the start of the first frame following an ‘unsportsmanlike’ infraction in NU’s five-set win over University of the Philippines last Wednesday.
UAAP volleyball commissioner Mike Verano announced Almendras’ sanction prior to the game.
The NU-UP match was a testy affair marred with taunting and trash-talking throughout the whole game.
“There were some little ‘misunderstandings’ during our last game against UP,” Almendras said.
The spiker admitted his mistakes and apologized for his lapse in judgment.
“Emotions were high during that moment. We have to learn to control our emotions in our next games,” Almendras, who dropped 17 points in the Bulldogs’ fifth straight win and 23rd overall since 2019.
“It won’t happen again. I asked for forgiveness and understanding from my teammates for the mistakes I made.”
Almendras also clarified that Ken Malinis was not ‘suspended’ but was out due to an undisclosed illness.
NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin said he had already talked to his team about the incident.
“We accepted whatever the sanction was for the mistake of the team. I guess their emotions got the best of them in our last game. We’ve already talked to them and hopefully, this won’t happen again,” he said.
UE took advantage of Almendras out in the opening set and Malinis’ absence to build its confidence and looked poised to pulling off an upset
But NU behind Almendras, Michael Fortuna and Congolese Obed Mukaba rallied in the next three sets to salvage the game.
Fortuna finished with a game-high 25 points including 24 off attacks while Mukaba got half of his 18 points on kill blocks to send the Red Warriors to their third loss in five matches.
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