Sta. Elena secured the last seat in the 2019 Spikers’ Turf Reinforced Conference semifinals.
Not leaving anything to chance, Edward Camposano and the Ball Hammers did not disappoint, pounding down the Philippine Army Troopers in three sets, 31-29, 25-17, 25-23, Thursday, at the Paco Arena.
Camposano fired 14 points built on 11 attacks, two aces, and a block while Nico Almendras and James Natividad chipped in nine and eight points, respectively, to set a date with number one seed Cignal in the Final Four.
“Siyempre kailangan [talaga] namin manalo para makapasok sa Final Four. Sinasanay namin talaga namin na kahit puro bata nga sila, nandun naman yung sistema eh. Kailangan lang i-feed samin sa kanila yung mga gagawin,” said Sta. Elena assistant coach Raymond Franza.
With Sta. Elena up by three in the second set, 20-17, Edward Camposano went berserk and singlehandedly unleashed a 4-0 to put the Ball Hammers at match-point, 24-17. Michael Reyes’ attack in the following play was unable to go through, giving Sta. Elena a 2-0 advantage.
Tied at 12-all in the following set, Sta. Elena sparked a 5-0 run to grab a 17-12 cushion.
Down by five points, Josh Retamar and James Natividad failed to convert their attacks; sparking a 5-0 run for the Army capped off by a Reyes drop to tie the game at 22-all. Nico Almendras then put on the finishing touches for Sta. Elena.
Meanwhile, team captain PJ Rojas scored a game-high 18 points for Army, who was booted out of the semifinals race with a 5-5 win-loss card.
Earlier in the day, the IEM Phoenix Volley Masters handed the Volleyball Never Stops Volleyball Club (VNS VC) a tight three-set loss, 25-23, 27-25, 27-25.
“Maganda naman although madaming errors, lalo na sa service. Nakagawa naman ng paraan, sa awa ng Diyos nakuha namin nang three sets,” said IEM head coach Pathie Jamiri.
Razzel Palisoc scored 12 points all of which coming from attacks while Enciso chipped in eight markers for IEM, who won their second consecutive victory to go up to a 3-7 record.
Meanwhile, Jeremy Merat finished with 11 points while Bagalay added nine for VNS, who dropped their eighth game in ten outings.
In the battle of the last two winless teams, Easytrip-Raimol edged out the Philippine Coast Guard Dolphins in a five-set thriller, 25-23, 22-25, 14-25, 25-18, 15-11.
Team captain Red Christensen spearheaded the attack with 19 points, 17 of which coming from attacks while Mardy Galang and Dave Pletado added 17 and 11 markers respectively for Easytrip, who won its first game of the conference.
“Actually, medyo disappointed ako kasi we planned this game talaga e. Yung first set was a good game, pero yung second nag relax somehow e. Yung game plan namin to give the pressure to them pero bumabalik sa amin,” said Easytrip head coach Jose Roque.
On the other hand, Coast Guard, who remained winless in 10 outings, was led by Esmail Kasim with 25 points built 18 attacks, five aces, and two blocks while also tallying 14 excellent digs. Eddiemar Kasim added 10 markers.