Jao PGJC-Navy’s Jao Umandal tries to overcome NU-Sta. Elena’s Nico Almendras and Jenngerard Diao’s blocking during their Spikers’ Turf Open Conference match yesterday. PVL photo

Sta. Elena overcomes Navy’s tough stand

September 25, 2022 People's Tonight 108 views

NU-Sta. Elena withstood a tough PGJC-Navy stand in the third set to hammer out a 25–21, 25–17, 26-24 victory to advance to the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference championship yesterday at the Paco Arena.

The Nationals used their solid blocking to frustrate the Sea Lions’ attacking game and improve to 2-0 in the semifinals.

Scoring a repeat of its five-set win in the preliminaries, NU-Sta. Elena also ended Navy’s five-match winning run.

“Give credit sa mga player ko. Talagang kita natin na gustong-gusto nilang manalo this game,” said Nationals coach Dante Alinsunurin. “Para sa mga bata ito, yung hardwork talaga. Yung pina-practice namin, hanggang ngayon, talagang bumabalik sa kanila.”

Later, Louie Ramirez had 16 points as Cignal kept its Finals hopes alive with a 25-20, 26-24, 25-18 victory over VNS-One Alicia. The HD Spikers are now tied with the Sea Lions at 1-1, and the two teams will clash for the remaining championship berth on Tuesday.

NU-Sta. Elena wraps up its semifinals stint against VNS-One Alicia on Tuesday.

The Nationals tallied 12 blocks, with Jenngerard Diao accounting for four, while setter Josh Retamar and Congo’s Obed Mukaba contributing three each.

Mukaba, who recorded a tournament-high 10 blocks in their first meeting with the Sea Lions, had a match-best three aces, and Alinsunurin was not surprised on the 6-foot-6’s effort in the service area.

“Sa akin, hindi naman kasi nakikita namin siya sa laro. Nagkakataon talaga na minsan eh may game siya na walang ganoon (service aces). Pero sa mga practice namin or mga tune-up game namin, nakaka-isa siya,” said Alinsunurin on Mukaba.

“Kasi alam mo naman yung mga serve niya, parang awkward na spin iyan pero may float iyan. Iyan ang mga nauusong mga serve kaya nama-maximize niya yung mga ganoong serve,” he added.

Following up his 30-point outing in last Thursday’s five-set conquest of the HD Spikers, Nico Almendras had 16 points and six digs, while Mukaba, who went 8-of-10 from spikes, finished with 14 points for the Nationals.

As Jao Umandal was held to a season-low 10 points, Joeven dela Vega took the scoring mantle for the Sea Lions with 15 points. Umandal collected 21 receptions and 10 digs.

Games Tuesday

(Paco Arena)
2:30 p.m. – VNS vs NU-Sta. Elena
5:30 p.m. – PGJC-Navy vs Cignal