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Comeback Cats! NCBA edges CSB in another five-set thriller



The National College of Business and Arts (NCBA) Wildcats pulled-off another pulsating comeback, squeezing past the College of Saint Benilde (CSB) Blazers and a 2-0 sets hole 19-25, 16-25, 25-18, 27-25, 19-17 in the Spikers’ Turf Collegiate Conference presented by PLDT Home Ultera at the FilOil Flying V Arena.

NCBA’s faulty recption dragged them down in the first two sets of the match. Giving away multiple free balls and weak attacks, the Wildcats absorbed multiple CSB smashes and block kills. NCBA, however, recovered in the following frames, taking advantage of a lackadaisical CSB effort and nabbing the third set. CSB controlled much of the fourth set but was thwarted by a late NCBA surge spearheaded by guest player, Reyson Fuentes superb play at the net.

Down 7-11, the Wildcats looked down for the count but were revitalized by CSB’s errors, eventually fighting-off two match points and forcing a deuce. The boys from Taft had more match point chances but succumbed to their own faulty attacking and service reception. Behind 16-17, NCBA pulled ahead thanks to back-to-back attack errors from CSB. To seal the match, NCBA perfectly telegraphed a Johnvic De Guzman combination play resulting in a Reyson Fuentes block.

After the match, NCBA head coach Ernesto Balubar said Fuentes played flawlessly. “Minsan ko lang siya purihin pero ngayon, wala akong masasabi kundi flawless ang nilaro niya [Fuentes] -.nabawasan niya ‘yung service errors niya, ang lakas ng mga atake, magaling. Siguro nilalakasan niya na kasi alam niya kailangan na namin siya lalo na para makapasok sa next round,” Balubar gushed.

Fuentes fired in a season-high 24 points off 19 attacks and five block kills. Team captain, Jason Canlas paced the NCBA assault with 16 markers while Paul John Domingo and Cj Oclima added 13 and 11 points respectively. The Wildcats also played without starting middle blocker Daryl Valenzuela who sprained his ankle in the opening set. NCBA also missed the services of Edwin Tolentino for the third straight game due to a concussion.

CSB team captain, De Guzman topped all scorers with 26 markers while open hitters Isaah Arda and Racky Etrone contributed 16 and 15 markers respectively.

The win gives NCBA a 3-3 record and clear shot into the Top Four phase of the tournament as they only need to win their final match of the quarters against the listless UP Maroons on Wednesday, September 2. NCBA also came back from a 0-2 sets deficit against the DLSU Green Spikers last week to earn their first win of the quarters.

CSB’s loss drops them to 1-5 tied with FEU and UP. Benilde locks horns with the Tams on Monday, August 31.

The Scores

NCBA (3) – Fuentes 24, Canlas J. 16, Domingo 13, Oclima C. 11, Canlas E. 7, Nidua 6, Nular 0, Ugoy 0, Valenzuela 0, Escobido (L), Vicente (L)

CSB (2) – De Guzman 26, Arda 16, Etrone 15, Jordan 6, Basilan 1, Coming 1, Deximo 0, Relata 0, Amparo (L), Chua (L)


Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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