The National College of Business and Arts (NCBA) Wildcats nailed the last semifinals slot in thwarting the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Spikers in straight sets 30-28, 31-29, 25-21 in the Spikers Turf Season One Collegiate Conference at the FilOil Flying V Arena, late Saturday afternoon.
The Green Spikers, who played without Team Captain Raymark Woo due to a right foot injury he sustained during La Salle’s loss to the Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) Generals last Wednesday, hanged tough in the first set. Tied at 27, guest player Michael Zamora committed an attack error that gave NCBA its first crack at set point, 28-27 but DLSU’s Mike Frey responded with a quick hit to force another tie at 28. Luckily for NCBA, Zamora once again committed an
attack error and, after NCBA opposite hitter Paul John Domingo blocked Zamora, NCBA claimed the early 1-0 sets lead.
Both teams once again figured in a prolonged deuce in the following set. NCBA guest player Reyson Fuentes committed an attack error that put La Salle at set point, 26-25, that led to both teams exchanging errors in the following three points, knotting affairs at 27. NCBA then relied on Domingo and guest players Edwin Tolentino and Fuentes down to stretch to provide alternating points to quell the Green Spikers.
In the third set with NCBA leading 15-14, La Salle’s Cris Bernard Dumago scored to tie the frame at 15. But a miscommunication on the Green Spikers vaulted the Wildcats to a 16-14 lead heading into the second technical timeout. Behind the effort of Fuentes, Domingo and Ralph Oclina the Wildcats slowly pulled away as the La Salle floor defense sputtered in crucial moments.
After the game NCBA Head Coach Ernesto Balubar admitted the Wildcats had difficulty in countering the Green Spikers in the first two sets. He also admitted that he considered the loss against University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons a blessing in disguise to pit them against the UAAP champion Ateneo De Manila Blue Eagles.
‘’ First two sets ang hirap, breaks of the game lang. A loss against UP it’s a blessing in disguise to prepare us against Ateneo’’ Balubar said.
Despite the last minute insertion of guest players to the Green Spikers line up , Balubar’s familiarity with both Zamora and Honrade helped concoct a proper defensive scheme on the fly.
“Buti nakahanda agad ng depensa for (Rocky) Honrade at Michael(Zamora) lalo nakita ko na sila maglaro. Luckily we were able to contain Zamora kaya noong third set hindi na siya pinasok at kay Honrade hindi binigyan ng magandang receive ng La Salle kaya hindi naka opensa ng maayos,” Balubar added.
Fuentes finished with 13 points while Tolentino and Domingo provided 12 and 11 point outputs respectively for the Wildcats
Onia led the boys from Taft with 14 points, Zamora chipped in 10, nine coming from attack and Honrade had six points together with six digs to finish their one and done assignment for the Green Spikers.
The Wildcats will face the UAAP champion Blue Eagles on Game One of their best-of-three series on September 7, 1:00 PM. The Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals and the National University Bulldogs collide for their series opener at 3:00 PM on the same day and venue.
NCBA(3)- Fuentes 13, Tolentino 12, Domingo 11, Valenzuela 7, Nidua 4, Oclima R. 2, Canlas 2, Vicente 0, Oclima C. 0, Escobido (L)
DLSU(0)- Onia 14, Zamora 10, Honrade 6, Calasin 5, Dumago 5, Frey 5, Del Pilar 1, Dimayuga 1, Jose 0, Asia G. 0, Movido (L)
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