NCAA Season 94: Altas, Junior Altas near reign extensions
Mark Escarlote on Feb 01, 2019 04:45 PM
Repeat-seeking University of Perpetual Help turned back College of St. Benilde in five sets to inch closer to the crown.
University of Perpetual Help banked on its championship experience and mental toughness down the stretch to survive the tough challenge given by College of St. Benilde, 23-25, 25-20, 23-25, 25-23, 15-12, Friday in Game 1 of the NCAA men’s volleyball Finals series at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The Altas crawled out of a 1-2 match hole in the best-of-three opener and showed nerves of steel in the tight fifth set to preserve its unbeaten streak that extended to 10 straight games.
Last year's rookie/Most Valuable Player Joebert Almodiel showcased his all-around game with 21 points - all from kills - with 17 excellent receptions and 11 digs while Ronniel Rosales fired 19 points for Perpetual. Ridzuan Muhali got 16 points while Mark Bation finished with eight markers including the game-clinching hit.
Game 2 is set Friday next week.
The Blazers, who won the crown back in 2017, took a 10-9 lead off an Owen Bacani running hit in the fifth frame. But Bacani committed a service error in the next play followed by back-to-back attack miscues by Ruvince Abrot before Rosales pushed Perpetual's lead to 13-10.
Francis Basilan scored on the next play before Ronniey Adviento served out to give the Altas a 14-11 lead. Abrot saved a match point before Bation's game winner.
"Actually hindi ako satisfied sa performance nila because during practice, napakaganda ng tune-ups nila saka mga practices. Maybe because this is the Finals and there’s this what we called the psychological effect of the Finals," said Perpetual coach Sammy Acaylar. "But then Benilde is one of the best teams in the NCAA. Ang height nila hindi mo basta-basta aanuhin kasi halos pantay-pantay kami eh. They’re smart also."
"It’s a game eh. Ganoon talaga ang game. Sometimes sa’yo sometimes hindi. Although yung score lumalayo, nahahabol pa rin. We don’t know kung kanino talaga ibibigay. I just gave my strength in coaching. Alam nyo naman ako kapag nagfta-timeout marami akong diskarte na ginagawa kung ano ang weakness ng kalaban," he added.
CSB gave Perpetual a scare in the fourth set after mounting a run that cut its 10-17 deficit to 22-23 off Abrot's hit. Roniey Adviento saved a set point for CSB with an off the block kill before PJ Ramos forced the decider with a crosscourt hit.
Abrot got 23 points while Basilan and Adviento posted 15 each for the Altas.
In the juniors division, Perpetual cruised past Letran, 25-15, 25-19, 25-19, to move within one win from completing a five-peat.
Noel Kampton was unstoppable as always, scoring all of his 16 points off attacks to lead the charge for the Junior Altas, who won their 10th straight match following a clean sweep of the elims that earned them an outright Finals berth.
Hero Austria came up with an all-around performance after posting 14 points built on 12 spikes and two aces while adding 11 receptions and eight digs for Perpetual.
It took the Junior Altas only 64 minutes to submit the Squires, who claimed the last championship berth after defeating Emilio Aguinaldo College and Lyceum of the Philippines University in the stepladder semifinals.
Christian Dela Cruz and Mark Omega finished with 12 and 11 markers, respectively, for Letran.
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