By: Rom Anzures
Arellano University solidified its Final Four in the NCAA Season 98 Mens’ Volleyball Tournament hopes after defeating San Sebastian College-Recolletos in four sets, 24-26, 26-24, 25-16, 25-24, on Wednesday at the San Andres Complex in Manila.
Down by a set after a Carl Berdal error that ended the first, the Chiefs went on to win three straight sets through the efforts of Anffernee Curamen, who scored 19 points; and Kim Tan’s 17 points and 10 excellent digs.
Arellano head coach Sherwin Meneses bared that he told his squad to move on from the opening set loss so they could play their way back into form.
“Sabi ko move on na lang tayo kasi andon na yon. Very close yung first set, so pagka dinamdam namin, baka magtuloy-tuloy,” said Meneses, who is also the head coach of Creamline.
His reminders surely translated well onto the Taraflex. The Chiefs went on to dominate San Sebastian in attacks, 47-25, in the final three sets as Arellano improved to 5-1 in the season.
But Meneses said that he would not let their standing get in their heads. He reiterated the importance of preparation and focus as the playoffs approach.
“Balik muna kami sa training, dun muna kami mag-focus. Yung final four, hindi muna namin iniisip. Composure and focus, yun lang naman yung kailangan,” he said.
AC Guinto also contributed 14 points for the Chiefs, followed by Jasper Cabillan’s 12 and Berdal’s 11.
Kyle Villamor was one of the few bright spots for the now 1-5 Golden Stags, finishing with 19 points and thirteen excellent receptions. Andrei Yape contributed 11 points and nine excellent digs, while Mikei Mendoza scored eight.
Meanwhile, Jose Rizal University obtained a huge five-set win against Colegio de San Juan de Letran, 23-25, 25-21, 25-20, 26-28, 16-14.
After failing to close out a tough opening set, the Heavy Bombers won the next two. Bryle Alipan led the way with 17 points built on 13 attacks and four blocks off the bench.
But Letran threatened to steal the win after winning the extended fourth set. It even got an early 9-4 lead in the fifth following a Lou Ambrocio attack.
The Knights continued their run towards the end game by establishing a 13-10 lead, but the Heavy Bombers’ balanced attack on both ends stood out. They won the game after a series of points highlighted by Alipan’s kill and the game-winning block on Ambrocio the play after.
Team captain Matthew Miguel put up 16 attacks and an ace for JRU, who improved to 2-4. Windel Laurenciana’s 13 and Ken Daynata’s 12 followed.
The Knights, who went down to 2-3, were headed by Vince Himzon with 27 points with two aces. Meanwhile, Ambrocio put up 19 points on 16 attacks and three blocks.