Three-peat seeking University of Perpetual Help System DALTA gutted out its toughest match yet in the NCAA Season 95 Men’s Volleyball Tournament, withstanding Lyceum of the Philippines University, 25-22, 33-31, 25-20, Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The Altas, who are yet to taste a bitter defeat for over two years in the age-old league, showed a chink in their armors. It was most evident in the marathon second frame, where the Pirates dragged the fatigue-stricken defending champions in deep waters.
Fortunately, the Altas were able to dig deep, leaning on converted hitter Louie Ramirez and team captain Ronniel Rosales to pull off an escape act in a tight straight-set affair that lasted for almost 90 minutes.
With this, Perpetual takes a solo lead with a pristine 3-0 card.
“Maybe it’s my fault kasi ibinalik ko sila ng conditioning ng konti, medyo na-ano nila ‘yung katawan na bumigat, kumarga ‘yung physical conditioning na binalik ko sa kanila, maybe it’s my fault,” Perpetual head coach Sammy Acaylar bared.
“Sometimes kasi maano ng coach ‘yan na bakit ganito? Bakit pangit ang performance? So I asked my players, sabi nila na naramdaman nila ‘yung weights training na ginawa ko the other day, that was Sunday,” he then recounted.
Ramirez continued to shoulder a huge bulk of Perpetual’s offense, hammering down 23 points with all but one coming from attacks. This is his first time barging into the 20-point territory this season, which came on the heels of his team-high outputs of 17 and 18 markers in their previous matches.
Rosales complimented the young open hitter with 15 markers built on 13 attacks and a pair of blocks. He and Ramirez were the only Altas who tallied double-digits in the match, as Ridzuan Muhali managed seven while Kennry Malinis had four markers, on top of seven digs and six receptions.
EJ Casana fanned out 14 excellent sets, orchestrating Perpetual’s barrage which mounted a 54 to 41 differential in attacks. Jeric Atentar focused on floor coverage, collecting 16 digs and 12 receptions.
While Acaylar acknowledges that his wards were able to pull through and come away with a victory, he hopes that they will be able to meet his expectations as the season goes along.
“Well, of course, I’m happy. Masaya naman ako sa performance ng mga bata ko pero, as I said before, mataas ang expectation ko sa kanila because we’ve been through how many months of training, pinaghandaan talaga kasi namin ang NCAA,” the former national team mentor said.
He then continued, “Not only NCAA ang pinaghahandaan ko, gusto ko masabi na pag-champion ang NCAA, it’s not just anyone — ‘yung respect ba nasa amin, nasa NCAA.”
On the other hand, Lyceum is winless in three matches.
Josue Velasco III and Kier Tibayan carried the scoring load for the Pirates. The former had 13 points, while the latter added 12. Charles Del Rio managed nine markers, as Juvic Colonia had eight in a losing cause.
Perpetual seeks to keep its hot streak rolling when it faces Mapua on Friday, January 24. Meanwhile, Lyceum tries to break into the win column when it collides against JRU on Saturday, January 25. Both matches will be held at the same venue.