Saints and Lattes-Letran grabbed the final quarterfinals seat in Pool C after dominating Philippine Coast Guard, 25-18, 25-6, 25-21, on the final day of eliminations of the 2023 Spikers’ Turf Invitational Conference on Friday at the Paco Arena in Manila.
The Saint Spikers finished pool play with a 4-1 record to end up second, just behind unbeaten Cignal.
Letran will face Pool B winner Cabuyao in the knockout quarters happening on Sunday at the same Manila venue.
“Thanks God binigay sa amin itong panalo na ito para makapasok sa quarterfinals kasi kami yung last na nakapasok eh so paghahandaan talaga namin yung quarterfinals para pumasok sa semis,” said Saint Spikers head coach Brian Esquibel as they hope to breach the semis to face Japanese guest squad Maruichi Hyogo.
After their nightmarish second set, a different Lifesavers went out to open the third set, cruising to an 11-7 lead before Derrick Bautista spearheaded the turnaround for Letran while Vince Himzon provided the finishing touches to end the game in 76 minutes.
High-scoring middle blocker Himzon produced 21 points on 16 attacks and five blocks, while Bautista chipped in 10 points, majority of which he delivered in the final period.
Aidam Adam and Rudy Gatdula had 12 and eight points, respectively, for Coast Guard, which finished their campaign winless.
Meanwhile, Chef on a Diet-FEU made sure to cast no doubt by finishing Savouge RTU Basilan in straight sets, 25-19, 25-20, 25-20, to clinch top spot and sweep Pool D.
The undefeated Tamaraws (5-0) will have a knockout showdown with Pool A second seed Perpetual-Kinto Tyres for a spot in the round-robin semifinals to be graced by Japanese guest team Maruichi Hyogo.
Dryx Saavedra, who missed last week’s game against Alpha Omega due to a hamstring injury, returned for FEU and delivered 13 points on 11 attacks and two blocks.
Lirick Mendoza and Martin Bugaoan added 10 points apiece while Andrei Delicana chipped in eight points of his own.
To end the elims, VNS capped its run with a straight-sets beating of Ranran Abdilla-less Philippine Air Force, 25-16, 25-18, 25-23.