KOCHI: A team man, a showman and truly gifted. Kochi Blue Spikers’ David Lee gave a glimpse of what to expect from him in the Pro Volleyball League. Led by the American and Manu Joseph, Kochi Blue Spikers beat U Mumba Volley 15-11, 15-13, 15-8, 15-10, 5-15 in the inaugural match of the Pro Volleyball League on Saturday. Under the rules of the tournament, matches don’t get over if a team wins the first three games. Teams winning all five games get three points for the win. The Spikers had a chance to bag as many, but had to settle for two, which a 3-2 or 4-1 verdict fetches.
Lee took his time, walked around the court and urged the fans to up the volume. He then quickly got down to business. Rallying the players, giving instructions and winning those crucial points, he was the star of the comprehensive win. However, it wasn’t a one-man show. Manu was the top-scorer with 15 points which included 14 spikes and a block. Lee contributed 10 points, that had seven spikes and three blocks. Another impressive performer for the Spikers was Rohith P, whose eight points helped the team seize the initiative early on.
U Mumba committed a lot of unforced errors. They made four mistakes in the first set and eight in the second, which indicated that they were not able to play as a unit. They also struggled with the first pass and showed poor service reception. The turning point was the third game. Leading by two games, Spikers knew they could not slow down and they won the third 15-8 where Lee and Joseph combined well. Lee scored four and Joseph got three. The first point of the game was a smash by the American right through the middle.
“They had David Lee and that itself is a big motivation. The way he was motivating the players, it certainly had an influence on them,” U Mumba coach Pritam Singh Chauhan said. His attacker Tomislav Coskovic was off colour and managed only a single point.
Spikers had the chance to take three points after going 4-0 up. But with nothing to lose, U Mumba managed to get their serves in and Nicholas Del Bianco scored nine spike points.But there was no doubt who the opening belonged to. “Lee’s presence is immense. He is always encouraging and mingling with the players. We also have good players like Manu and the win was a good start for us,” Spikers coach TC Jyotish said.