Newcomer Vanguard stunned defending champion National University-Archipelago Builders, 25-18, 18-25, 26-24, 13-25, 15-10, in the 2023 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference at the Paco Arena on Wednesday night.
The Volley Hitters raced to a 12-3 start in the deciding frame to set the pace, a nine-point lead that the Volley Builders could not overcome despite efforts from Bryan Jaleco, Leo Ordiales, and Joseph Bello.
“Laruin lang nila yung laro nila kasi kita namin bata ‘yung kalaban eh so kapag binigyan talaga ng pagkakataon yan, agresibo yan talagang dadalihin tayo niyan,” Vanguard head coach Edjet Mabbayad on what he told his team heading into the fifth set.
With back against the wall, National U came out of the gates firing en route to a dominant 25-13 fourth period before its momentum was cut short.
Razzel Palisoc had a game-high 20 points on 18 attacks, a block, and a service ace for the Volley Hitters who also got 15 points including two aces from Vince Abrot, who was steady at the service line during their big run in the final canto.
Jovs Camaganakan chipped in 13 points, while libero Rec-Rec Alfaro provided 20 digs and 11 excellent receptions.
The youthful Volley Builders were led by Mac Bandola’s 14 points and 14 excellent receptions. They also got 11 points from Ordiales and 10 from Jaleco.
The Volley Hitters took a share of the top spot with Imus-Ivy Tuason Photography, the Philippine Army, and Iloilo.
Vanguard will have a week’s rest before returning to the taraflex next Wednesday against VNS at 6 pm. Meanwhile, NU will face the D’Navigators on Sunday at 6 pm as well.