The Arellano University Chiefs pulled out all stops to eliminate the Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates in four sets, 25-22, 25-16, 25-27, 25-19, to move to its sixth win, Wednesday morning at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
Leading Best Attacker candidate John Cabillan paced the Legarda-based squad with double-edged performance in offense and defense. The outside hitter finished with 17 points, 13 coming from spikes, and nine digs and 19 excellent receptions.
In just his third straight game as a starter, former UP Maroon Christian Dela Paz also ended up with 17 markers on 11 attacks, three blocks, and two service aces.
The Chiefs had to fend off errors late in the opening frame and closed it out with the efficient attacking of its spikers led by Cabillan and Dela Paz. Then, the gray-shirts used this momentum to subdue the Pirates in the following set to pocket the 2-0 advantage.
However, the Pirates showed their resilience in the third set. Jhonel Badua poured in most of his 21 points in this canto to lift the Pirates.
The Intramuros-based team had to stop Arellano’s comeback attempt to eventually steal a set.
Nonetheless, the Chiefs used this failed opportunity to do better and finally take the match in the fourth set.
Head coach Sherwin Meneses was pleased to see his players execute well all throughout the match.
“Okay naman, maganda naman yung performance nila. Kasi, Sunday medyo pangit yung performance nila eh. Ngayon talaga lumabas yung [sa] ensayo,” he shared.
When asked on their crucial tiff against the defending champions Perpetual, the long-time Chiefs mentor said, “Meron kaming one week to train. Depende kasi sa laro ng San Beda-Mapua yung standing eh. Basta kami maglalaro lang ng tama, ng 100 percent sa Perpetual.”
“Matagal na rin kaming tinatalo ng Perpetual, so sana makabawi kahit papano,” he ended.
The Chiefs (6-2) and Perpetual Altas (6-1) battle will happen on Wednesday, January 25 in the last scheduled elimination match. On the other hand, the Pirates (3-5) will close out their season against San Sebastian Golden Stags (3-5) on Monday, January 23.
AU (3) – Cabillan 17, Dela Paz 17, K. Liberato 13, Latip 12, Aliyacyac 5, Meneses 2, Esguerra 0, Soriano 0, Santo 0, Blanco (L).
LPU (1) – Badua 21, Presnede 17, Dulce 10, Pecaña 8, Binas 3, Sapornia 1, Lajara 1, Magpantay 0, Uy Corral 0, Calvo L, Rubio (L).