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Red Letter Day: Red Spikers clip Cardinals for semis berth

No complications this time

Needing just a win to clinch a playoff spot, the San Beda College Red Spikers shook off a sluggish start to upend the Mapua Institute of Technology Cardinals in four sets, 22-25, 25-23, 25-13, 25-13, and clinched an outright semifinals seat, Friday morning at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Mark Enciso led the balanced scoring for the white-shirts with 16 points off 12 attacks, three service aces, and a block. Outside hitter Gerald Zabala paced the four others in double digits with 12 markers.

The Red Spikers edged out the Cardinals in all scoring skills and in digs, which is something the latter excelled in.

San Beda head coach Jose Roque surprised everyone with an unusual starting lineup. This gamble backfired, as Mapua pounced on the situation, getting their wing spikers to click with a variety of attacks.

“Actually, nagkaroon ako ng slight error sa lineup. Napansin ko kasi yung isang numero,” Roque admitted. “Pero kahit papano, sabi ko nga, andyan na yan. Kahit papano lumaban naman.”

“It just so happens na naka-una agad ng three points yung kalaban. Yun yung sinasabi ko sa kanila na never mo bibigyan ng puntos ng pagkalaki-laki. Kung didikit tayo, dikit lang. Kung kaya namang lamangan, lamangan mo.”

The Mendiola-based squad seemed to take these words to heart, as what followed in the third and fourth sets was utter domination.

Mapua skipper Anjo Pertierra tried to give the Cardinals second win; nonetheless, the lead was too much to overcome, as Enciso closed out the match and sealed San Beda’s second straight semifinals appearance.

For coach Roque, the squad will continue to approach the following games without pressure.

“Hindi na namin inaano sa team na, ‘O, papasok tayong semis, papasok ba tayong Finals?’ Basta game time, make sure na naka-focus kami and then make sure na makuha namin yung game namin, wala lang. Every game is just a game,” he added.

Middle hitter and skipper Pertierra finished with 11 markers for the Cardinals.

The Red Spikers finish the season with a 7-2 win-loss record, good enough for a chance at one of the twice-to-beat advantages. The Cardinals will most likely end in fifth place at 5-4, three notches up from last year’s eighth place finish.

The Scores

SBC 3 – Enciso 16, Zabala 12, Viray 10, Patenio 10, Santos 10, Manliclic 5, Desuyo 2, Mascariñas 1, Genobaten 0, B Gonzales 0, Casin L.

MIT 1 – Pertierra 11, Egan 9, Pagulong 9, Navera 8, Damian 7, Andaya 2, Evangelista 2, Hizon 1, Dais 0, Canlas L.

Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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