Three-peat seeking University of Perpetual Help System DALTA endured a tough challenge from Arellano University, 28-26, 23-25, 25-21, 25-19, to sustain its unbeaten run in the NCAA Season 95, Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The Altas leaned on converted hitter Louie Ramirez once again. The 19-year-old peppered Arellano with 21 attacks, wounding up as the leading scorer with 25 points. He also delivered three aces, a pair of which came at the critical juncture of the match to lift Perpetual to 6-0 at solo top spot.
With a win within sight for the Altas at 22-18, Christian Dela Paz threatened to stage a comeback for Arellano, hammering down a blistering blow. But in the ensuing sequence, Awie Abdulla answered right back with one of his own to restore order for Perpetual.
Ramirez then displayed nerves of steel from there. He cooly sank an ace to buoy the Altas at match point, before he unfurled a service bomb that bounced off a defender for the win.
“I always told my players that you are going to respect all the teams na kalaban namin, most especially ‘yung mga katulad ng Arellano, they’re one of the best teams in the NCAA,” Perpetual head coach Sammy Acaylar said.
Perpetual captain Ronniel Ramirez shouldered some of the scoring load as well. He put up 13 attacks and three kill blocks, finishing with 19 points. Hero Austria also made his presence felt, scattering 12 markers on top of 23 receptions.
Still, Acaylar pointed out that his wards still lack the character to finish off teams, which is something that he seeks to work on during the long layoff before battling San Beda on Friday, February 7.
“Sa character naman ng team ko this game, hindi ko nakita ‘yung inensayo namin eh, hindi ko nakita ‘yung motivation nila to kill na kapag naglaro ka, give your best,” the seasoned mentor admitted.
On the other hand, the Chiefs slid to 4-2 after losing their last two matches.
Arellano also saw Dela Paz’s 21-point outing go for naught. Jesrael Liberato and Kim Vincent Tan chimed in 13 and 11 markers, respectively, in a losing cause.
Arellano will seek to arrest its skid when it collides with Letran on Tuesday, February 4. Matches will be held at the same venue.