Playing from behind for most of the match, the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas strutted their championship pedigree, quelling the College of Saint Benilde Blazers, 23-25, 25-20, 23-25, 25-23, 15-12, to claim Game One of the NCAA Season 94 Men’s Volleyball Finals at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The Blazers got the upper hand early in the decider after back-to-back blocks gave them an 8-6 lead. Quick plays from middle blocker Ronniel Rosales pushed the Altas to a 9-all tie before they finally took the lead, 12-10, following three consecutive Benilde attack errors. Rosales struck again, serving an ace that inched the Altas further ahead, 13-10. Another Benilde error placed Perpetual at match point, 14-11. Mark Bation then put the final nail in the coffin with a smash off two blockers.
Rosales finished with 19 points off 12 attacks, five blocks, and two aces. Reigning MVP Joebert Almodiel topped the Altas with 21 points to go with 11 digs and 12 excellent receptions.
Perpetual head coach Sammy Acaylar lauded his players’ quick adjustment after starting the match out of sorts.
“Sobrang excited kasi nila noong umpisa ng match. Hindi nila malaro ‘yung game talaga nila,” said the decorated head coach. “We just needed to relax and focus doon sa gameplan namin. Alam naman nila ‘yung dapat gawin and thankfully lumabas siya in the end.”
Open hitter Vince Abrot paced the Blazers with 23 points while captain Francis Basilan and Roniey Adviento each managed 15 markers.
The Altas can complete their run to a repeat on February 8 at the same venue.
UPHSD (3) – Almodiel 23, Rosales 19, Muhali 16, Bation 8, Ramos 5, Ramirez 4, Sereno 3, Casana 2, Abdulla 0, Enarciso 0, Atentar (L), Balmores (L)
CSB (2) – Abrot 23, Adviento 15, Basilan 15, De Sequera 9, Bacani 7, Almonte 0, Bautista 0, Daculan 0, San Miguel 0, Dumaran (L), Dy (L)