By: Rom Anzures
University of Perpetual Help System DALTA is one win away from clinching its third straight NCAA Men’s Volleyball title after defeating San Beda University in game one of the best-of-three Season 98 finals series, 25-20, 25-16, 25-22, on Tuesday at the FilOil Eco Oil Centre in San Juan City.
The red-hot Altas – who have won their 32nd straight game – were led by JC Enarciso with 15 excellent sets and six points.
They can clinch the title on Friday at the same San Juan venue.
In their first outing in the elimination round, the Red Spikers took a set from Perpetual. This time, the Las Piñas-based squad made quick work of San Beda by taking them down in only three sets.
After the Altas won the first two sets, the third saw both teams tied at nine apiece following a kill by Justine Santos. Perpetual then scored four straight points to create a 13-9 cushion and even extended their lead to seven, 17-10.
Already facing match point and looking at a 17-24 disadvantage, Ken Umali and Renz Calayag powered San Beda to five straight points. That got them as close as two, 22-24.
But an off-the-block kill by Jefferson Marapoc ended the game for the Altas, who are looking to defend the men’s volleyball crown and complete a three-peat dating back to season 93.
Perpetual head coach Sammy Acaylar revealed that their in-game adjustments proved to be crucial in the win. San Beda came well-prepared to try and steal game one from the defending champions.
“Actually, nakita ko ‘yung adjustment ng San Beda kanina, so ‘yung mga play namin nahuli nila – ‘yun ang strategy ng ginawa nila so sabi ko sa setter ko ‘yung play natin noon wag na natin gawin kasi gumawa naman tayo ng another play na hindi nila na pag-aralan,” said Acaylar.
“So, kung sila ay gumawa ng strategy nila, gumagawa din kami ng strategy namin. And then that’s why nung bandang huli, di na nila nahuli kasi ‘yung pinag-aralan nila ‘yung dating set play namin – ‘yung bago ‘yung hindi nila nakita,” he added.
Louie Ramirez led the Altas in scoring with 17 points and 13 excellent receptions, while Marapoc contributed 13 points and seven digs. Joshua Zareno also scored 10 markers in the win.
On the other hand, Ralph Cabalsa top-scored for the Red Spikers with 16 points on 15 attacks and one block, followed by Umali with nine points and nine receptions. Calayag also scored six points, while Santos and Jerome Lopez put up four each.