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Spikers’ Turf: Almendras tows NU-Sta. Elana past Army for win no. 1


National University-Sta. Elena bucked a slow start to dismantle Army-Katinko Oil, 20-25, 25-20, 25-16, 25-12, in the 2022 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference, Thursday at the Paco Arena.

The Nationals went on a rampage in the fourth set, opening a 16-6 advantage on the way to a 25-12 tally for the win.

“Bago itong team na ito eh. Although, medyo alam nila na galing kami sa international competition pero pagdating kasi dito, iba pa rin ‘yung first time mo kapag dito ka naglalaro sa Pilipinas,” said NU-Sta. Elena head coach Dante Alinsunurin.

Ahead by three, the Troopers finished off the first frame with a 3-1 spurt, capped by Benjaylo Labide’s kill for the early lead but NU-Sta. Elena responded swiftly in the ensuing salvo for the equalizer, 25-20.

Solid net defense of the Nationals combined with Army-Katinko Oil’s errors highlighted the former’s 7-1 closing blast in the third period to take the lead, 25-16.

Nico Almendras led NU-Sta. Elena with 18 points built on 15 attacks, two aces, a block, and 12 excellent receptions.

“Noong first set ang dami naming errors lalo sa service so ayun nag-adjust kami sa second set and nabawasan naman ‘yung unforced errors namin,” said Almendras.

Six-foot-six Congolese middle blocker Obed Mukaba out-blocked the Troopers by himself, 6-5, and finished with 13 points.

Kennry Malinis added 12 points, while Michaelo Buddin got eight points in just two sets of play.

PJ Rojas topscored for Army-Katinko Oil with 11, while John Diwa chipped in 10 to his name.

Rey Taneo tallied 26 excellent sets along with four points and five digs as well.

#ReadMore  Sta. Elena-NU sweeps Perpetual, seal Spikers' Turf bronze

NU-Sta. Elena joined Cignal and VNS as early leaders at 1-0, while the Troopers slid to 0-1, alongside Ateneo-Fudgee Barr and Santa Rosa City.

Army-Katinko Oil will aim for its first win on Saturday at 2:30 pm against the HD Spikers, while the Nationals will next play on Tuesday, 2:30 pm, against Navy.

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Just a kid from Cavite trying to make a difference.


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