The Blazers are heating up!
The Taft-based spikers stopped the Arellano University Chiefs in four sets, 23-25, 25-16, 29-27, 25-20, to register their seventh straight win and in the process clinching at least a playoff for a Final Four slot, Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The Blazers used their momentum from a failed comeback attempt in the opening frame to torch the Chiefs in the second set. Skipper Johnvic De Guzman and middle hitter Francis Basilan poured in most of their points in the blowout.
The third set was similar to the first, in which both teams traded excellent transitions leading to kills. It was a showdown between outside hitters Isaah Arda of Benilde and John Cabillan of Arellano.
Eventually, Arda finished off the pivotal set with a booming spike.
From then on, the green-shirts capitalized on Arellano’s tentativeness to wrap up the match in the fourth set with another Arda kill.
“Napansin ko kasi na parang nahihirapan kami kasi malakas yung blockings ng kalaban. Malakas silang nagblock ng cross court, which is yun yung porsyento namin ni John Vic,” the finisher shared.
He continued, “So ang sabi ko kahit anong mangyari, papaluiin ko yung bola kasi andyan naman sila, magsusupport sa kin.”
The graduating open spiker finished with 18 points to lead the supporting cast for the Blazers. He also led the net defense with four of the team’s 12 blocks.
Team captain De Guzman once more paced the league-leaders with 25 markers, 22 coming from attack.
Cabillan ended with 15 attacks for Arellano, while skipper Ben Latip had 14 points.
Arda believes that their last two wins against San Beda and Arellano bode well for their championship goals. “Masaya, kasi medyo sure na kami sa one and two. Kalaban na lang namin San Sebastian, after nun semis na. Paghahandaan namin.”
“Ang gagawin namin, same pa rin. Magpupush pa rin kami sa isa’t isa. Focus lang kami sa anong dapat naming gawin,” Arda concluded.
The Blazers (7-1) hope to seal not only a Final Four berth, but also one of the twice-to-beat bonuses, when they face San Sebastian (2-3) on January 25. On the other hand, the Chiefs (5-2) will try to bounce back when they battle Lyceum (4-3) on Wednesday, January 18.
CSB (3) – De Guzman 25, Arda 18, Basilan 10, Bacani 6, Jordan 5, Deximo 3, Bacani 3, Bautista 0, Dy L, Garcia L.
AU (1) – Cabillan 15, Latip 14, Dela Paz 10, K. Liberato 9, Aliyacyac 5, Meneses 2, J. Liberato 1, Esguerra 0, Santo 0, Soriano 0, Blanco L, T. Arellano L.