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Spikers Turf: Buddin continues to shine as NU-Sta. Elena sweeps VNS


National University-Sta. Elena closed in on a semifinals berth after beating VNS-One Alicia in three sets, 33-31, 25-17, 25-18 in the 2022 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference at the Paco Arena, Tuesday.

Kennry Malinis topped the scoring column for the Nationals with 16 points – all coming from the attack line – while super rookie Mike Buddin chipped in 15 markers on 10 attacks, three kill blocks, and two aces to go along with 10 excellent receptions.

NU-Sta. Elena climbed to the number one spot with a 4-0 record. NU-Sta. Elena and Cignal will take the first two semifinals seats if the HD Spikers defeats PGJC-Navy later in the day.

“Syempre maganda yung naging resulta, nanalo kami but yung first set namin talagang medyo nangangapa kami sa sitwasyon namin kung ano bang dapat naming gawin,” said Nationals head coach Dante Alinsunurin.

“Nung last part ng first set nakuha na namin kung ano yung dapat naming gawin, yung sistema namin nakuha na namin kaya nag tuluy-tuloy na yung panalo namin saka ang ganda ng laro namin especially si (Mike) Buddin nag-step up talaga,” he added.

Set one went the distance as the Nationals overcame a five-point disadvantage, 11-16, to keep themselves alive in the tight opening set. The Griffins eventually moved at set point, after a Ben San Andres hit, 24-23. However, Ish Polvorosa committed a service error afterward which sent the game to a deuce.

Following a back-and-forth affair, Gerard Diao finally scored off a quick attack to put NU-Sta. Elena ahead, 32-31, before Kennry Malinis scored off the block to complete the Nationals’ hijack attempt.

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NU-Sta. Elena picked up where they left off in the second set and led by as much as seven points, 24-17 after Jeremy Merat hit the antenna. VNS-One Alicia failed to get the ball over in the following play which gave the UAAP squad a 2-0 advantage.

Buddin then kicked off the final set with a bang, scoring eight points in the Nationals’ hot 17-9 start which buried the Griffins. The lead eventually reached as high as nine, 19-10, after an attack error from Merat.

San Andres and Kim Malabunga engineered a last-ditch attempt to extend the set, trimming the deficit to just five, 14-19, but it was not enough as Joshua Retamar and Leo Aringo put on the finishing touches to complete the sweep.

Kevin Montemayor delivered 14 points for the 2-2 VNS-One Alicia while Malabunga dropped 11 points against his former school in a losing effort. San Andres, on the other hand, was held to nine markers laced with 12 receptions and two digs.

NU-Sta. Elena will face UAAP rival Ateneo-Fudgee Barr on Saturday at 5:30 PM while VNS looks to bounce back against PGJC-Navy earlier that day at 2:30 PM.

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