Vince Abrot made sure that College of St. Benilde averted a late collapse versus San Beda University in a seesaw five-setter battle, 23-25, 25-17, 27-25, 19-25, 15-9, in the NCAA Season 95 Men’s Volleyball Tournament, Thursday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Abrot went supernova for the Blazers, making his presence from all over the court. He came through with a double-double performance of 28 points built on 22 attacks, four blocks, and two aces while collecting 23 excellent receptions.
Down at the most critical juncture of the fifth frame, Abrot rattled off five consecutive hits to secure the cardiac match for St. Benilde. But it was the collective hats of Ryan Daculan and Franz Almonte that set up his heroics.
“Kailangan talaga nila mag-deliver kasi ‘yun na last chance namin ‘yun,” St. Benilde head coach Arnold Laniog said of his wards’ sense of urgency. “Kung hindi pa sila mag step-up doon, saan kami pupulutin niyan.”
Riding their momentum from the fourth set, Abdurasad Nursiddik churned out a 3-0 spurt for the Red Spikers to open the decider. St. Benilde was able to weather the early storm thanks to Daculan, who made all the right plays to knot the count at 4-all.
Almonte carried the cudgels from there, pummeling the differential hits that created crucial separation for the Blazers. Holding a 10-6 cushion, Abrot then shouldered the load and finished off San Beda.
St. Benilde rose to 4-2, forging a two-way knot at third place with idle Arellano Chiefs. The green and white also shoved fellow contender San Beda down to solo fifth at 3-2.
Still, Laniog remains wary of the competitive field. He warned his players to stay on their toes and spare no effort to get better game after game.
“Like ngayon, may makita nanaman tayong weakness area, so kailangan trabahuhin lang talaga each preparation time para sa mga next games talaga dahil again, ‘yung ibang mga teams dito, hindi mo rin talaga masasabi. Kumbaga baka makapuwing. So ayun, ‘wag lang talaga magre-relax, tutukan lang talaga,” the seasoned mentor bared.
Joshua de Sequera made his presence felt with 17 points highlighted by three blocks. Georgie Guani chimed in 15 markers, while the duo of Almonte and Daculan managed 13 and three, respectively.
St. Benilde skipper and setter Kevin Magsino orchestrated the offense to the tune of 28 excellent sets. His playmaking brilliance allowed the Blazers to torch San Beda in attacks, 67 to 58.
The Red Spikers, on the other hand, saw Jeffrey Losa’s 18-point, 19-reception, 14-dig triple-double outing go for naught. Melver Lapurga and Nursiddik had 17 and 12 markers in a losing cause.
St. Benilde shall face JRU on Friday next week, February 7. Meanwhile, San Beda will try to get back on track when it collides with EAC on Monday, February 3. Both matches will be held at the same venue.
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