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Perpetual outlasts CSB, makes Finals return

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“Gusto talaga naming mabawi yung title,” University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Team Captain Bonjomar Castel shared after the team won their fourth straight win earlier this season.

Seven matches after, the former four-peat champions snared their return to the title round after repeating over College of Saint Benilde Blazers in five gruelling sets, 33-31 25-22 23-25 23-25 15-9, Friday at the FilOil Flying V Centre, San Juan City.

Both CSB and Perpetual showed their eagerness to take the opening set. The Altas started on a brighter note as they punished the early reception problems of the Blazers en route to mounting an 8-5 advantage on the first technical timeout. CSB then adjusted their reception and defense, and levelled the match 9-apiece. The Taft-based spikers then wrested the lead at 11-9 from back-to-back blocks from Ron Jordan.

It was toe-to-toe battle from then on until a back row attack from Isaah Arda put the Blazers to set point advantage. Rey Taneo Jr. started his heroic game and pushed the Altas a point away from winning the set. After a wild exchange of hits and errors, Taneo Jr. finally finished off the frame with an off-speed shot that caught the Blazers napping.

In the second set, Perpetual rolled past the Blazers as they punished the mental lapses of the latter on defense. The Altas led by as much as five, 15-10, before errors of their own gave CSB some chance to steal the set. Nonetheless, defense pulled the men in white into the end as Castel sent his team to a 2-0 match lead.

The Blazers then woke up and mounted a comeback in the following sets. CSB jumped into the early lead in both frames and never looked back. Despite the attempts of the Altas to finish off the match, Blazers skipper John Vic De Guzman and Racky Etrone stepped up to extend the game into a deciding fifth set.

With the pressure lifted off in their minds, the Perpetual Altas resumed their good plays in the fifth set. Errors also piled up for the Blazers, as they made it easier for the Las Piñas-based team to close it out. CSB tried to rally in the tail end of the match; nonetheless, an attack from Taneo Jr. and a block from Allan Sala-an snared the win and the final berth for the Altas.

Perpetual Head Coach Sammy Acaylar believed that his wards just played with less pressured in the final set and just executed well in the end. “Kung sino yung gustong manalo, yun ang mananalo,” he said. The decorated mentor believes his team is ready for the Finals. He furthered, “It is challenging, pero gusto ko talagang mabalik sa min yung korona.”

The Scores:

UPHSD (3) – Rey Taneo Jr. 21, Castel 13, Rel. Taneo 13, Doliente 8, Sala-an 7, Ramos 4, Abcede 2, Catipay 2, Ytorzaita 2, Kasim 0, Kalingking (L)

CSB (2) – De Guzman 28, Etrone 14, Jordan 13, Arda 6, Orian 3, Deximo 2, Magsino 1, Coming 0, Garcia 0, Bacani 0, Dy (L)

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Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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