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Tiebreaker Times


Spikers Turf: Retamar steers NU to bounce back win with 4-set escape of Letran

National University-Sta Elena needed to scratch and claw in the first three sets before sailing smoothly in the fourth to down Saints and Lattes-Letran, 25-19, 23-25, 25-23, 25-13, and crack the win column of the 2023 Spikers’ Turf Invitational Conference semifinals Friday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.

The Nationals and the Saint Spikers are now tied at 1-1 in the middle of the five-team standings.

“Siguro yung first three sets struggle kami sa position namin, talagang lahat kasi merong nararamdaman eh pero pinipilit ng player ko pero syempre wala namang dahilanan eh. Medyo nagtaas na rin ako ng boses sa kanila… hanggang sa nagkaroon na rin kami ng timing sa ginagawa namin kaya tumama na lahat nung fourth,” said NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin, who is usually mild-mannered.

After the first three periods that were decided by just two to six points, the Nationals finally found their groove in the fourth frame after the wakeup call they received from Alinsunurin.

Ahead by just a point early, 9-8, Jade Disquitado, Nico Almendras, and Obed Mukaba took the scoring mantle to pull away and earn the 25-14 win and finish the match in one hour and 41 minutes.

Errors were plenty on both sides with National U committing 28, including three straight errors by Disquitado in the second set to allow Letran to escape, 25-23. The Saint Spikers also had 25 miscues on their own.

Disquitado went for 19 points while Almendras had 15 points and 21 excellent receptions out of 27 attempts.

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Joshua Retamar excelled in his role by tossing 29 excellent sets as Rwenzmel Taguibolos and Leo Ordiales supplied 11 points each for the Nationals.

Leading the way for Letran were Vince Himzon and Rylie Sta. Maria with 12 points apiece.

Bembem Bautista, who had 24 points in the Saint Spikers’ win over Perpetual last Wednesday, was held to just eight points.

Both teams will be back in action tomorrow morning at the Philsports Arena.

National U will go for its second win when it takes on Perpetual-Kinto Tyres at 9 a.m., while Letran faces Japanese guest team Maruichi at 11 a.m. before the Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference Game 2 semifinals of both series in the afternoon.

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Just a kid from Cavite trying to make a difference.

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