Casana EJ Casaña – 18 excellent sets and two service aces in PGJC’s stunning win over erstwhile unbeaten Cignal. PVL photo

Sta. Elena survives VNS

September 14, 2022 Theodore P. Jurado 164 views

NU-Sta. Elena dodged VNS-One Alicia’s tough challenge in the extended first set before hammering out a 33-31, 25-17, 25-18 win to secure the first semifinals berth in the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference at the Paco Arena.

The Nationals were playing catch-up in the opening set, trailing by as much as 11-16 and allowed the Griffins to reach set point first before prevailing to grab the upper hand.

“Maganda yung resulta, nanalo kami but yung first set talagang medyo nangangapa kami. Although yung last part ng first set, nakuha namin yung dapat naming gawin.

Yung sistema namin, nakuha namin kaya’t tuloy-tuloy na ang ganda ng laro namin,” said coach Dante Alinsunurin.

NU-Sta. Elena, which remained unscathed in four matches, took the solo lead after PGJC-Navy dealt Cignal its first loss following a 20-25, 25-19, 25-22, 25-23 victory.

The Sea Lions rallied in the fourth set to tie the HD Spikers in second place at 3-1.

“Nagtulungan na lang sila noong fourth set kaya kami nakahabol,” said PGJC-Navy coach Cecile Cruzada.

Mike Buddin then imposed his well in the second and third to help the Nationals close out the one-hour 34-minute contest.

Starting for the second straight match, Buddin produced a solid all-around game, as the NU-Nazareth product came through with 15 points, including three blocks and two service aces, and 12 receptions.

“Nagkaroon ako ng kumpiyansa sa sarili ko and mas nag-boost yung tiwala sa sarili and sa tiwala ng coaches mas ibinigay nila yung tiwala nila sa akin na i-first six ako ulit.

Ayoko ko silang ma-disappoint po sa tiwala na ibinibigay sa akin kaya gagawin ko ang best ko na ipakita na i-first ako na hindi sila madi-disappoint po,” said Buddin.

Kenry Malinis, a transferee from University of Perpetual Help System Dalta, led NU-Sta. Elena with 16 kills, while setter Josh Retamar had 17 excellent sets and fired two aces.

Alinsunurin is happy to have the Nationals getting into the groove as the tournament is also used by NU as part of its UAAP Season 85 preparations.

“Kailangan kailangan talaga namin ang maraming laro para sa din team. Yun naman ang unang una kong priorihty, yung mas marami kaming laro para sa kompetisyon na ito,” said Alinsunurin.

“Kung papalarin na makalaro sa championship, sige. Subukan namin kung paano,” he added.

VNS suffered its second consecutive defeat after winning back-to-back five-setter matches.

Kevin Montemayor took the scoring mantle with 14 kills while Kim Malabunga, playing against his alma mater, had three blocks for a 11-point outing for the Griffins.

Jao Umandal had 18 points, Christian Marcelino, filling in for injured Joeven dela Vega, had two service aces to finish with 14 points, while setter EJ Casaña tossed in 18 excellent sets and also fired two aces for the Sea Lions.

Marck Espejo led the HD Spikers with 17 points, including three service aces, while JP Bugaoan added 11 kills.

Games tomorrow

(Paco Arena)
2:30 p.m. – Army vs Santa Rosa
5:30 p.m. – Cignal vs Navy