By: Rom Anzures
San Beda University secured a huge victory over Mapua University, defeating them in four sets, 25-21, 22-25, 25-19, 25-12, in the NCAA Season 98 men’s volleyball tournament on Wednesday at the San Andres Sports Complex.
In a match that acted as a virtual do-or-die for the Red Spikers, Jerome Lopez led the way and delivered 33 excellent sets along with six points, helping the Mendiola-based team climb to number four in the standings with a 5-3 record.
Both teams locked horns and split the first two sets before San Beda shifted gears in the final two sets, even establishing a 15-point lead in the fourth, 24-9, after two consecutive blocks from Lorenz Calayag.
The Red Spikers ended the game with another excellent play from Lopez, who tossed the ball perfectly to Ryan Rosman for a down-the-line attack and the win.
San Beda head coach Ariel dela Cruz said that the team regained momentum in the last two sets after he reminded them to forget about their second-set blunder.
“Sabi ko sa kanila, kailangan nating makuha yung third set para mabalik sa’tin yung momentum at dere-deretso na pag-dating sa fourth,” said dela Cruz.
The soft-spoken mentor also revealed that despite the win, the Red Spikers still have a lot of areas to work on, particularly their defensive schemes, ahead of their possible Final Four appearance.
“Kailangang mag-focus kami dun sa blocking para may pattern yung depensa namin. Mas madaling dumepensa kung may block kami, so kung sarado na sa taas, mas madaling mag-execute,” added dela Cruz.
Calayag top-scored for the Red Spikers with 16 points on 12 attacks, three blocks, and an ace, followed closely by Justine Santos, who put up 15 markers. Ralph Cabalsa and Ken Umali also scored in double digits with 14 and 10, respectively.
On the other hand, Barbie San Andres’ 20-point outing went to waste as Mapua slid to number five in the standings with a 5-3 record. Alvin Macadangdang chipped in 11 markers while Karl Lastimosa scored seven.
In the morning match-up, Arellano University boosted its hopes of at least a top-two finish after defeating College of St. Benilde, 25-20, 25-13, 21-25, 25-14, to move up to 6-1 in the standings.
The Chiefs won the first two sets, which featured a masterful performance in the second set, where they doubled the Blazers’ attack points, 14-7, while also limiting their errors to only six.
Coach Arnold Laniog’s team put up a better showing in the third frame where they crawled back from a 15-18 deficit by outsourcing Arellano, 10-3, to end the set. The Chiefs’ nine errors played a big part in Benilde’s comeback in the third set.
AC Guinto took care of business in the fourth to finally fend off the pesky Blazers, converting an off-the-block kill that ended the match. Arellano also held Benilde to only 14 points in the final set to spoil its hopes of a comeback.
Adrian Villados steered the Chiefs with 22 excellent sets to go along with five attacks, a block, and an ace for seven points.
Guinto spearheaded the team’s offense with 18 points laced with 22 excellent receptions while Carl Berdal, Kim Tan, and Anfernee Curamen added 17, 14, and 13 points, respectively.
The Blazers, who fell to 2-6, were led by Georgie Gauani’s 15 points on 14 attacks and one block while Leonard Jaboli had 11 markers and was responsible for 20 of Benilde’s 41 excellent receptions.