University of Perpetual Help System DALTA remained unscathed after gutting out Emilio Aguinaldo College in a tight straight-set 25-23, 29-27, 28-26 victory, Monday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The Altas stretched its winning romp to eight matches to inch closer to an outright Finals berth in the NCAA Season 95 Men’s Volleyball Tournament. They also put the Generals’ unbeaten streak to a screeching halt in the process, keeping them at solo second with a 7-1 card.
Converted hitter Louie Ramirez pummeled 17 points built on 15 attacks and two aces to lead Perpetual while Kennry Malinis and Ronniel Rosales provided ample support with 13 markers each.
Hero Austria flaunted his all-around brilliance with 11 points, 17 receptions, and eight digs, as EJ Casana put up 21 excellent sets to churn out the Altas offense.
Emotions ran high in the battle between two of the league’s top teams as on-court antics and taunting ensued. It eventually reached fever pitch midway through the third set, where the Generals hopped on 22-18 lead and threatened to prevent a sweep.
Having seen that emotions were starting to get into his wards’ heads, Perpetual head coach Sammy Acaylar whipped them back to focus.
“Kasama kasi diyan ‘yung intimidation ng kalaban. Medyo naka-focus sila sa kantsaw ng kalaban kaya nawala ‘yung kanilang focus. So sabi ko, ‘Back to normal. Back to basic. Just play and enjoy the game,” Acaylar recalled.
“Segurista ako, I told them na just focus, ‘wag nilang patulan ang kalaban kasi it’s just a part of it. Kumbaga they’re going to contribute lang, distribute lang mga efforts nila sa game tsaka ‘yung mga skills nila, and of course, focus,” he continued.
The Altas heeded his reminders, staging a comeback and snatching the set to emerge unscarred.
Joshua Mina and Danrich Melad led the Generals’ tough stand with 16 points each while Aeron Daduya had 10 markers in a losing cause.
The three were the only EAC attackers who tallied a point in the match, as setter Michael Imperial managed 17 excellent sets to go with three points.
Perpetual seeks to complete a sweep of the preliminaries when it battles Letran. Meanwhile, EAC tries to get back on track before entering the post-season when it collides with Arellano. Both matches will be held on Thursday, February 13, at the same venue.