Spikers’ Turf: NU-Sta. Elena rallies to escape Navy in five-set thriller
MANILA, Philippines–National University-Sta. Elena rose from the brink and snatched a 15-25, 24-26, 25-19, 26-24, 18-16 win over Navy to force a three-way tie for the lead in the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference at Paco Arena on Friday.
The Nationals rallied from two sets down and had to overcome a 15-16 deficit in the deciding fight set by winning the next three to seize the victory, their second straight so far.
It was the third match in seven games that went through the distance in the Spikers’ Turf, further underscoring the level playing field in the seven-team tournament marking the resumption of men’s volleyball after a three-year hiatus.
“Both teams played well but we’re happy with the outcome. The guys were able to play into the system towards the end,” said NU-Sta. Elena coach Dante Alinsunurin, whose wards tied Cignal and VNS-One Alicia for the lead.
Obed Mukaba’s anchored NU-Sta. Elena’s exceptional net defense, coming through with 10 kill blocks, including three in succession that capped their fourth-set escape, while Diao added five as the Nationals doubled their rivals’ output with 22.
The Congolese also came up with six hits and one ace for a 17-point output. Michaelo Buddin and Malinis delivered 13 points each while Diao finished with nine points.
Umandal and Dolor led Navy with 22 and 19 points, respectively in their first loss.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.