Spikers’ Turf: NU-Sta. Elena drubs Sta. Rosa to close in on semis berth
MANILA, Philippines — Setter Joshua Retamar and spiker Nico Almendras propelled National University-Sta. Elena’s rousing 25-16, 25-16, 25-22 victory over Santa Rosa, inching a win closer to the semifinals and gaining a share of lead in the 2022 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference on Saturday at Paco Arena.
Playing against their former high school coach Edu Lirio of Sta. Rosa, Retamar provided four of the Nationals’ 12 blocks and dished out 10 excellent sets, as Almendras finished with 12 points built on nine attacks, two aces, and a block.
The Philippine men’s volleyball team setter finished with six points to beat the Lions in an hour and 16 minutes for their third straight victory, tying defending champion Cignal on top of the standings and moving on the cusp of a semifinal berth.
Retamar credited their win to their blocking pattern and the eagerness of their bench players to prove their worth.
“We played a bit relaxed but somehow we executed a good blocking pattern. It’s also good to see my teammates from the bench stepping up. They performed well and showed that they really want to play,” said the NU-Sta. Elena team captain in Filipino.
Michael John Fortuna and Michaelo Buddin also stepped up with 10 and eight points, respectively.
The Nationals coach Dante Alinsunurin tried different rotations from his bench as Obed Mukaba, who drilled 10 blocks last week in their five-set win over Navy, only played in the first two sets and finished with five markers.
“We really want to use our bench players because we need them to be ready for each game. They have to step up because we’re not only relying on our starting six,” Alinsunurin said in Filipino.
NU-Sta. Elena tries to book its semifinals ticket against VNS-One Alicia (2-1) on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.
Sta. Rosa dropped to 1-3 record and will take a breather before facing Army-Katinko (0-3) on Thursday next week.
No one from the Lions scored in double figures as Jade Disquitado and substitute Andrew Barilea led the team with eight points each.