Composure sets champions apart from contenders
Despite some lapses, the reigning NCAA Men’s Volleyball champions University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas pulled of a rousing sweep of the Arellano University Chiefs, 25-23, 25-14, 25-19, to snatch the other twice-to-beat bonus in the semifinals, Wednesday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Outside spiker Esmail Kasim powered his way to a game-best 12 points to lead the Las Piñas-based squad.
The Altas gained full control of the match right from the get go, as they pounced on the reception problems of the Chiefs.
In the opening set, Arellano tried to push for a comeback after several miscues from the maroon-shirts. Nonetheless, it was the steady setting of Relan Taneo that pushed the right buttons for the Altas to take the win.
From there, the defending champions never looked back. The Chiefs’ spurts were not enough to put a dent on the Altas’ momentum.
Eventually, after several chances, Perpetual converted off a broken play to finish the third set and the match.
Perpetual head coach Sammy Acaylar praised his wards’ composure. He said, “During our practice, hindi sila ganun maglaro, partly because of pressure from the audience, from the opponents, from the referees.”
Nonetheless, the perfectionist mentor hopes that the small mistakes from the Altas would still be minimized, if not eliminated.
“As much as possible, in a set, ang lapses nila one or two lang,” Acaylar said.
Team captain Manuel Doliente echoed his mentor’s sentiments. “Sabi ko sa kanila, yung kalaban pababa na, dapat kami pataas.”
The middle hitter believes that in order to repeat against the in-form CSB Blazers on Friday, the Altas need to work on so many things.
“Pag-aaralan po namin yung set plays ng Benilde. Yung service receive namin, digs, and blockings dun po kami nagfofocus sa training.”
No Legarda-based spiker posted double-digit production as Kevin Liberato finished with six markers.
Both the Blazers and the Altas secure the twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four at 8-1 win-loss record, but will have to contest the number one seed on Friday.
The playoff for the 3rd-4th spots between the 7-2 teams Chiefs and the San Beda Red Spikers is also scheduled on the same day.
UPHSD 3 – Kasim 12, Taneo Jr. 9, Doliente 9, Ramos 7, Sala-an 4, R. Taneo 2, Narvasa 1, S. Taneo 1, Atentar 0, Kalingking L, Balmores L.
AU 0 – K.Liberato 6, Dela Paz 5, Cabillan 5, Aliyacyac 4, Domingo 3, J. Liberato 3, Soriano 2, Latip 1, Santo 1, Meneses 0, Esguerra 0, Bajen 0, Blanco L, Arellano L.