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Spikers Turf: Bem-Bem Bautista sustains momentum as Letran shocks Perps in 4 to open semis


Saints and Lattes-Letran added another victim to its growing list, stunning Kinto Tyres-Perpetual in four sets, 26-24, 25-22, 24-26, 25-19, to open its Spikers’ Turf Invitational Conference semis campaign on a high note, Wednesday at the Paco Arena.

The Saints Spikers, who were undoubtedly the surprise team of the tournament, leaned on Bem-Bem Bautista’s brilliant offensive performance that saw him drop 24 points on 21 attacks and three blocks to fend off the reigning NCAA champions.

“Syempre big win ito para sa mga bata kasi alam na champion yung kalaban ng NCAA. So, talagang nakita ko yung willingness nila nung pumasok kami sa quarterfinals,” said Letran head coach Brian Esquibel.

A couple of errors hounded the Altas late in the fourth set, with John Enarciso committing a double contact violation and Kirth Rosos hitting the antenna which put Letran ahead by five points, 23-22.

Rosos atoned for his mistake and scored a quick while Wayne Arano miscalculated his set afterwards which brought Perpetual to within three. Unfortunately, it was not enough as Bautista delivered the lethal blow that finished the game after two hours and 16 minutes.

“Nag-laro nang maayos yung mga bata, napakita nila yung pinagplanuhan namin. Saka tulung-tulong pa rin yung mga bata sa depensa, sa opensa. That’s why hanggang dulo hindi bumibitaw,” added Esquibel.

Vince Himzon posted 17 points built on 14 attacks and three blocks while Steven Sta. Maria had 12 points. Christer Ambrocio chipped in eight markers, 16 excellent receptions, and 10 excellent digs.

Arano dished out 21 excellent sets while Raxel Catris registered 15 excellent receptions and eight excellent digs in the win.

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On the other hand, Louie Ramirez led Perpetual with 23 points on 20 attacks, two blocks, and one ace to go along with 24 excellent receptions and four excellent digs while Micheal Medalla and Jefferson Marapoc had 13 and 12, respectively.

Letran looks to make it two in a row against National U-Sta. Elena on Friday, 3:30 p.m. at the Filoil EcoOil Centre while Perpetual will try to bounce back against guest team Maruichi Hyogo on Monday, 11:00 a.m. at the Philsports Arena

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