With their season on the line, defending NCAA Men’s Volleyball champions College of Saint Benilde Blazers needed to survive numerous match points to eliminate the San Beda University Red Spikers and advance to the semifinals of the NCAA Season 93 Men’s Volleyball Tournament, 25-16, 24-26, 25-19, 20-25, 20-18, Friday afternoon.
“Ipinakita namin yung mental toughness namin na kapag tumutok talaga kami sa game makukuha talaga namin yung goal namin. At the same time ipinakita rin namin ang heart of the champion,” said Blazers head coach Arnold Laniog.
Last January 16, the Red Spikers came out on top against the Blazers, taking a nip and tuck four-setter, 25-15, 25-16, 23-25, 26-24. This time though, the fourth-seed team needed to rally back from a 1-2 deficit to force a rubber set.
During the fifth set, San Beda had one foot in the semis, leading 14-12. Saint Benilde had other ideas.
Jethro Orian was able to save Saint Benilde with a thunderous kill, while an ace by Francis Basilan knotted things up.
The two hungry squads went back and forth afterwards, sending the game into deep waters at 18-all. As Laniog said, the Blazers dug deep.
A Mark Enciso error sent Saint Benilde to match point. A long rally ensued afterwards, before King Blazer Isaah Arda scored off the block to end the three-hour long contest.
Arda towed Saint Benilde with 23 points, 22 coming from spikes. Basilan had 19 markers — 15 off attacks, three from blocks, and an ace — while Orian added 16 markers. Kevin Magsino tossed 51 excellent sets.
The Red Spikers, a team that will retain most of their core for next season, were led by Enciso. The athletic winger had 22 points. Limuel Patenio and John Carlo Santos had 14 and 13 markers respectively.
The Blazers will next face the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas on Tuesday, February 13, for the right to face the Arellano University Chiefs in the best-of-three Finals.
CSB 3 – Arda 23, Basilan 19, Orian 16, Bacani 9, Bautista 6, Magsino 1, Rojas 1, Garcia 1, Dy (L)
SBU 2 – Enciso 22, Patenio 14, Santos 13, Viray 9, Amagan 5, Gonzales E 2, Desuyo 2, Zabala 2, Genobaten 0, Casin (L), Gonzales J (L)