Ish Polvorosa steered VNS-One Alicia to a five-set victory over Ateneo-Fudgee Barr, 25-21, 22-25, 25-20, 23-25, 15-19, to open its Spikers’ Turf Open Conference campaign on a winning note, Tuesday at the Paco Arena.
Polvorosa dished out a game-high 29 assists to go along with two points to help the Griffins close out the pesky Blue Eagles, who came alive late in the fourth set to send the game to a decider.
“Actually expected naman na magde-deliver siya kasi setter siya from national team. Yun nga lang, ang struggle talaga ng team namin is time constraints. Yung other teams ilang months na nagte-training pero kami, kaka-start lang namin,” said VNS-One Alicia head coach Ralph Ocampo.
“New team, may mga new players kami, nakaka-excite rin kasi ang ganda ng laban,” he continued.
VNS-One Alicia started the fifth set with a hot 5-1 spurt led by Ben San Andres and Roniey Adviento.
Ateneo closed the gap to within two, 5-7, after a Kevin Montemayor attack error but the Griffins answered back with a three-to-nothing rally kick-started by Adviento and Montemayor to give their side a comfortable 13-7 lead.
San Andres’s jump serve went out in the following play while Uriel Mendoza punched one in to put VNS at match point, 14-8. Amil Pacinio saved a point off a drop but Montemayor closed things up with a powerful spike.
Leading the charge for VNS-One Alicia is San Andres with a game-high 20 points to go along with 16 excellent receptions and 13 excellent digs.
Montemayor added 14 points while Mendoza and Adviento chipped in 10 and nine markers, respectively. Former Air Force middle blocker and national team standout Kim Malabunga had eight.
Despite losing a four-point lead midway in the first set, VNS-One Alicia still managed to take the 1-0 advantage after Ateneo’s Kennedy Batas and Jettlee Gopio committed three attack consecutive errors, with the last two coming from the latter, which gave the opposite side a 25-21 win.
The Blue Eagles bounced back in the second set, with Pacinio converting a spike after catching the Griffins’ blockers sleeping, 24-21. San Andres answered back to keep his side afloat but Batas blocked him on his following attempt which locked the scores at 1-all.
In the third set, VNS-One Alicia banked on a 4-0 burst in the latter part to push Ateneo to the ropes, 24-19. Gopio then failed to get the ball over as the Griffins placed a 2-1 cushion. However, VNS-Alicia failed to finish the job in the fourth frame as the Blue Eagles overcame late errors to force a fifth set.
Pacinio spearheaded Ateneo with 20 points while Batas and Matthew Salarzon added 17 and 15 points, respectively.
VNS will face Sta. Rosa on Saturday at 5:30 PM while Ateneo will take on Navy on Thursday also at 5:30 PM.