Defending NCAA champions University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas clinched their fourth win of the season after edging out the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights in the three sets, 25-20, 25-21, 25-20.
Esmail Kasim soared for the reigning champs with 11 points off eight attacks, two blocks, and an ace.
In the three sets of the match, the Altas built sizeable leads as their lethal combination plays clicked. Nonetheless, Letran kept in step with the former when Harold Reyes and Bobby Gatdula found their mark.
Eventually, it was the composure and experience that pushed Perpetual to their third straight win.
“Kasi nung una kampante kami kasi Letran, parang kaya naman,” admitted Altas’ libero Jack Kalingking. “Nung dumidikit na yung kalaban, naging pursigido kami na makuha na namin, na matapos na yung laro.”
The Altas edged out the Knights in all scoring skills, 39-31 on attacks, 6-2 on blocks, and 5-4 on serves.
Best Setter frontrunner Relan Taneo produced 37 excellent tosses, while Kalingking had a monster job on defense with 12 digs and 28 excellent receptions.
Kalingking shared that coach Sammy Acaylar told them that they have still a lot to improve on, especially on the road to the Final Four.
“Sabi nga ni coach kulang pa yung performance namin. Dapat sa training namin, [ayusin] pa namin yung skills na tinuturo ni coach Sammy at ng coaching staff namin,” he added.
Letran team captain Reyes led his legion with 13 points in 12 attacks and a block, while MVP candidate Gatdula registered 12 markers.
The now 4-1 Altas will try to inch closer to at least a playoff berth when they battle the dangerous San Sebastian Stags (2-3) on January 11 next year. The Knights (1-4), meanwhile, will try to arrest their slump in their next match against rivals San Beda Red Spikers (4-1) on Wednesday, December 14.
UPHSD (3) – Kasim 11, Taneo Rey. 10, Sala-an 9, Doliente 8, Ramos 7, R. Taneo 4, Narvasa 1, Rosales 0, Atentar 0, Taneo Rel. 0, Kalingking L, Balmores L.
CSJL (0) – Reyes 13, Gatdula 12, Dichioso 4, Orsini 3, Sarmiento 3, Cistina 1, Centeno 1, Dizon 0, Almoguerra 0, Ladeon 0, Sison 0, Ra