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(C) Joaqui Flores/ Spikers Turf

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Francis Saura says D’Navigators win over Criss Cross shatters UAAP myth


Francis Saura felt out of this world after the D’Navigators tripped down a formidable Criss Cross side to open the 2024 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference round-robin semifinals on Wednesday night.

The D’Navigators moved past a rough opening set and grabbed the next three frames to stun the King Crunchers in four sets, 16-25, 27-25, 25-21, 25-17, at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila.

“Sobrang nakakasaya na parang ‘di ako… parang wala ako ngayon dito. Parang siguro mamaya pa magsi-sink in lahat kasi more on adrenaline pa, celebration,” Saura admitted.

But he went on, “Pero sa ginawa ng team namin, ng mga teammates ko, sinabi ko rin kanina na ginawa namin yung mga roles namin na binigay sa’min ng coaches.”

Saura was the star of the show for the D’Navigators, hammering down 20 of his 41 attack attempts to finish with a game-high 20 points in the one-hour, 49-minute match.

The victory could not be any sweeter for the former National University standout, considering that Criss Cross consists of the brightest volleyball stars in the Philippines today.

“Sobrang tamis kasi matagal ko na silang naging teammates, matagal ko na silang nakakalaban tapos parang angat talaga sila. Buo talaga sila kasi karamihan sa kanila galing UAAP,” Saura said.

“Intact talaga sila. Sobrang tamis na natalo namin sila, with the help of our teammates na ginampanan talaga yung roles nila. Magiging diabetic kami sa sobrang tamis, mga ganon,” he added.

ST-2024-Semis-Criss-Cross-vs.-DNavigators-Francis-Saura-2653 Francis Saura says D'Navigators win over Criss Cross shatters UAAP myth News Spikers' Turf Volleyball  - philippine sports news

(C) Joaqui Flores/ Spikers Turf

Despite their elimination round loss to the same team, Saura said that the D’Navigators felt confident that they could turn things around in the semifinals.

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“Siguro yung edge namin is nandun yung gigil namin. Kasi nung first round, nung eliminations, umabot kami ng 32-30 sa set three, so nandon yung possibility na kaya namin talaga sila,” said Saura.

“Yung pagkatalo namin na yun, ginawa naming motivation yun para manggigil sa laro namin ngayon. So ayun nga yung nangyari.”

The former national team stalwart also shared that the win holds great importance not just for him, but also for the unheralded players of the D’Navigators, who did not come from a UAAP or NCAA team.

Saura said that the huge upset gives the team an added boost ahead of their semifinals journey. There, they will face Cignal and PGJC-Navy, both of which defeated them as well in the preliminaries.

“It means na kaya namin. Kahit na yung mga kasama ko karamihan hindi galing sa UAAP, hindi galing sa NCAA. Basta dedicated ka lang sa paglalaro ng volleyball saka nandoon yung determination at tiwala mo sa teammates at sa team, kaya namin manalo,” said Saura.

“Ewan ko lang if may other term pa sa na sobra sa boost, pero ganun kasi sila rin yung nilu-look up namin. Kung paano namin sila tatalunin. Tapos yung mga skills nila, strategies nila, nilu-look up namin. Nung natalo namin sila, sobrang nakaka-boost yun kasi kaya pala namin,” he continued.

“Hindi sa pagiging kumpyansa, pero nandon yung determination namin na kaya pa namin angatan. Nandoon na kami sa level na yun eh, natalo na namin sila. Hindi kami nagkukumpyansa pero icha-challenge namin yung team namin na angatan pa yung nag-achieve namin.”

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