CSB keeps title-retention bid alive, boots out San Beda
College of St. Benilde remains on the hunt for a repeat title after a five-set escape over San Beda University.
Repeat-seeking College of St. Benilde needed the late game heroics of Isaah Arda to survive the claws of San Beda University, 25-16, 24-26, 25-19, 20-25, 20-18, Friday in the first phase of the knockout stepladder semifinals of the 93rd NCAA men’s volleyball competition at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Hanging by their fingernails in their breakthrough crown they won via series sweep last year, the Blazers showed grit in the closing stretch of the fifth frame to save six match points before Arda took matters on his own hands with the closing off the block kill over Red Spikers’ Mark Enciso and John Carlo Santos.
“Ipinakita namin yung mental toughness namin na kapag tumutok talaga kami sa game makukuha talaga namin yung goal namin. At the same time ipinakita rin namin ang heart of the champion,” said CSB coach Arnold Lanios, whose wards will take on Arellano University on Tuesday in a sudden death for the right to challenge unbeaten Perpetual Help in the best-of-three Finals.
Arda scored all but one of his 23 points off attacks while Francis Basilan and Mark Orian added 19 and 16 markers, respectively, for the Taft-based squad. Setter Kevin Magsino had 51 excellent sets while birthday boy Aljan Dy had 22 excellent receptions and 14 digs, including the save on Adrian Viray’s attack that led to Arda’s winner.
CSB squandered an 8-5 lead in the fifth set as San Beda University pushed at match point, 14-12. Orian scored on a runner before Basilan scored an ace to tie the frame at 14.
The Red Spikers pushed at match point advantage five more times with their last at 18-17 on a kill by Enciso. Basilan tied it on an attack before Enciso committed a crucial attack error when he sent his kill wide to give CSB the match point advantage.
Arda sealed it with his off the block hit.
Enciso finished with 22 points all coming of kills, Limuel Patenio got 14 while Santos had 13 for the Mendiola-based squad.
Meanwhile, Letran defeated CSB-La Salle Greenhills, 13-25, 25-23, 25-23, 20-25, 15-12, in their playoff match for the no. 4 spot.
The Squires will face top seed and twice-to-beat defending champion Perpetual in the Final Four. No. 2 seed Emilio Aguinaldo College and Arellano U will meet in the other semis pairing.
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