It was a roller-coaster day for the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals, but a win by the College of Saint Benilde Blazers later in the day made it all well for both teams.
The Blazers were the happier of the squads, as they officially punched their ticket to the Final Four after demolishing an inspired San Sebastian College team, 25-18, 25-17, 25-23, Friday late afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The win also resuscitated the semifinals bid of the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals, who suffered a crushing defeat to the Lyceum of the Philippines in five sets earlier in the day.
It was a comprehensive win from the Blazers, who are using their last two elims assignments as a dry-run for the plays and systems they plan to use for the next round. As head coach Arnold Laniog shared, “Continuous lang yung sistema. Ang habol namin is mapulido yung porsyento namin para sa semis.”
The Benilde lifer added, “Yung floor defense kailangan pa naming maayos, kasi medyo nasa baba kami on that skill. Although nababawi naman namin sa net defense.”
The Blazers stamped their class and used their height and athleticism to the tee as they smothered the Stags with 12 blocks. They also added 41 attacks and four aces to overpower the opponents in just 55 minutes.
Skipper Francis Basilan flexed his muscles at the net with 13 points, five of which came from blocks. On the other hand, wing hitters Roniey Adviento and Ruvince Abrot – who has returned to the staring six – finished wuth 12 and 10 markers, respectively.
Despite an inspired outing from middle hitter Kince Sanchez at 10 points, it was not enough for the Stags to carve a stunner past the skilled Blazers.
It was a welcome development for their fellow Taft-based squad, as the Pirates denied the Generals the outright passage to the semifinals with a five-set upset of the latter, 21-25, 25-21, 25-20, 15-25, 15-11.
Former juniors standout Juvic Colonia ended with 24 markers on 21 attacks and, two blocks, and an ace to lead the ship, while Robert Leonida added 14 points.
For the Generals, it was rookie Joshua Ramilo which poiured in the points at 26, especially in that dominant fourth set win.
EAC ended their eliminations at 5-4, and will hope that the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA (7-0) deny San Sebastian (4-4) the upset. If the Stags pull off a shocker on Monday, January 14 at 10 am, there will be a playoff between the Generals and the Stags for the last semifinals berth.
For their part, the Blazers (7-1) will continue to hone their plays when they face the Mapua University (2-6) later that day at 3:30 pm. Meanwhile, the Pirates (3-5) and the Colegio de San Juan de Letran (2-6) will close the first round on Thursday, January 17, also at 3:30 pm.
LPU 3 – Colonia 24, Leonida 14, Saporna 10, Binas 7, Tibayan 7, Uy Corral 3, Lajara 3, Del Rio 1, Porto 1, Galang 0, Negrillo 0, Legaspi 0, Moral L, Golloso L.
EAC 2 – Ramilo 26, Mina 21, Pitogo 11, Daduya 6, Castillo 4, Bautista 1, Julao 1, Melad 1, Diones 0, Magadan L, Lasala L.
CSB 3 – Basilan 13, Adviento 12, Abrot 10, De Sequera 8, Bacani 7, Magsino 6, Bautista 1, San Miguel 0, Gauani 0, Ugalde 0, Daculan 0, Dy L, Dumaran L.
SSC-R 0 – Teodones 11, Sanchez 10, De Guzman 7, Pamittan 6, Lana 2, Abulencia 1, Bunsuan 1, Lazaro 0, Eusebio 0, Andrade L.