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Tiebreaker Times


NCAA 98: Jerome Lopez steers San Beda to semis stunner vs Arellano, advances to Finals

By: Rom Anzures

San Beda University secured the last spot in the finals of the NCAA Season 98 Men’s Volleyball Tournament, stunning second-seed Arellano University in the stepladder semifinals 27-25, 12-25, 25-17, 25-18 on Wednesday afternoon at the FilOil Eco Oil Centre in San Juan City.

Game One of the finals between San Beda and Perpetual is set to take place on April 11 at the same San Juan Venue.

Team captain Jerome Lopez contributed 23 excellent sets and three points on two attacks and a block for the fourth-seed Red Spikers, who have won two straight elimination games.

After splitting the first two sets and struggling in the second, San Beda regained their composure in the third, which ended with a block point by Renz Calayag and a down-the-line kill by Ken Umali.

In the fourth set, San Beda continued their strong performance and built an early 11-5 lead after three consecutive points by Justine Santos, allowing the Mendiola-based squad to reach their first finals appearance since 2012.

Red Spikers’ head coach Ariel Dela Cruz credited his team’s discipline and preparation, saying that these were the key to defeating the number two and three seeds, which led to their eventual finals bout.

“Una, sa disiplina. Kasi kung sa training wala silang disiplina, hindi namin makakamit yung gusto kong ipagawa sa kanila,” he said. “Kung pinabayaan lang namin ‘yon, sabi ko sa kanila hindi niyo makakamit yan kasi yung bola bilog.

“Katulad nung kanina, medyo nakapos kami sa pangalawang set, sabi ko sa kanila ‘wag tayong umasa sa pagkakamali nila para maka-score tayo. Saludo ako sa kanila kasi yung instructions madali nilang i-adopt, kasi yung disiplina napag praktisan na nila,” he added.

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Umali led San Beda in scoring with 15 points built on 14 attacks and an ace, followed by Santos and Ralph Cabalsa who scored 13 each.

On the other hand, Carl Berdal scored 17 points on 16 attacks and an ace for Arellano, followed by AC Guinto’s 13 points, 14 receptions, and seven digs.

The Altas were also the Red Spikers’ last finals opponent where Perpetual swept the series in two games.

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