Nilagyan namin ng puso, pride at tapang -- Finals MVP Rey Taneo

Nilagyan namin ng puso, pride at tapang -- Finals MVP Taneo
Nilagyan namin ng puso, pride at tapang -- Finals MVP Rey Taneo on winning the NCAA men's volleyball championship

University of Perpetual Help setter Warren Catipay cringed in pain while his right foot was being bandaged tightly in the second set.

The Altas just lost the opening set of the 93rd NCAA men’s volleyball Finals decider Thursday at the FilOil Flying V Centre and had to deal with having their starting playmaker sidelined with a foot injury.

It didn’t help that Arellano University smelled blood after seeing Perpetual scramble to adjust as head coach Sammy Acaylar converted Rey Taneo, an opposite hitter, as playmaker.

For the second time this season Arellano seemed to have the upper hand against the squad that swept the nine-game elimination round to advance in the championship outright. The Chiefs, who handed Perpetual its first loss in a five-set match win in the series opener, seemed to be in control.  

Arellano dictated the tempo for most of the second set but Perpetual, a team with a championship pedigree, proved that they thrived in adversity.

The Altas were up to the challenge.    

“Nu’ng nawala ‘yung main setter namin, tinake lang namin as challenge yun,” said Taneo, who played his swan song.

With Taneo playing the lead, Rookie of the Year and Season Most Valuable Player Joebert Almodiel catching fire and the rest of the Altas embracing their roles, Perpetual turned the tables around and completed a dramatic come-from-behind 23-25, 27-25, 25-19, 25-23 win to make their claim for the school’s 11th title overall even more sweeter.  

“Nag-pray kami kanina, sabi ko sa prayer namin na i-guide Niya kami sa challenges na mangyayari sa game kasi hindi mawawala yung ganoong bagay,” said Taneo, who was all over the stats with 11 points, 22 excellent sets and seven digs.

Perpetual slowly chipped away Arellano’s lead in the second quarter and played tough in the closing stretch of the frame to overtake the Chiefs, 24-23. Arellano saved a set point and even got the lead back, 25-24. 

But the Altas behind Taneo and Almodiel answered with three straight points to tie the match.

With momentum on their side, the Altas owned the third set.

But the Chiefs, who dethroned College of St. Benilde in the semis stepladder, buried Perpetual to a 19-12 hole in the fourth set.

Acaylar, calm and relaxed, knew that his wards knew what to do.

His trust was rewarded with what could be considered as one of the greatest comebacks in league history.

Perpetual answered with a huge 12-3 scoring blitz capped by Ridzuan Muhali’s kill that pushed the Altas at match point, 24-22. Christian Dela Paz saved a match point on a kill before John Patrick Ramos sealed the championship with a quick attack at the middle off a set from Taneo. 

The graduating player Taneo bared the three ingredients that gave brought them success to overcome adversity.

“Tinake lang namin as challenge and nilagyan namin ng puso, pride at tapang,” he said.

Almodiel couldn’t agree more.

“Ginawa din naming motivation si Kuya Warren,” said Almodiel, who had 19 markers and 14 excellent receptions. “Kahit wala siya sa loob ng court, tinapangan namin ang mga sarili namin at tinibayan namin ang loob namin. Naglaro kami as one team.”



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