Spikers’ Turf: NU-Sta. Elena nears elims sweep, faces Cignal for top spot
MANILA, Philippines—National University-Sta. Elena inched closer to sweeping the elimination round in the 2022 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference as it ousted Ateneo-Fudgee Barr, 25-14, 25-16, 25-19, on Saturday at Paco Arena.
The Nationals setter Joshua Retamar displayed his brilliant playmaking that led to a collective effort to eliminate their UAAP rivals from semis contention in just 75 minutes.
Retamar dished out 13 excellent sets on top of five points as Nico Almendras and Michaelo Buddin delivered 10 points each to score their fifth straight win in as many matches.
Foreign student Obed Mukaba had nine points, including three blocks as NU-Sta. Elena had 13 blocks against Ateneo’s three.
“We displayed a tremendous blocking. We had almost five blocks per set. That made the game easier for us,” said NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin in Filipino.
Alinsunurin was not only pleased to have gauged their level against a fellow UAAP team but he’s also happy to feel that collegiate men’s volleyball action is back.
“We felt that collegiate leagues are just around the corner. This is very important for every school. We’re so happy to see people watching our games as the college and semipro teams have finally made their comeback,” the Philippine men’s volleyball team head coach said.
But Alinsunurin and his young wards are set to face their biggest test of the conference yet as Sta. Elena tries to sweep the elimination round against defending champion Cignal (4-1) on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., where it also tries to seal the No. 1 seed heading to the best-of-three semifinals.
“Our team will be tested. We’re waiting for this match against a strong and solid club team. We will give our best,” he said.
Ateneo-Fudgee Barr, composed of rookies, finished the tournament losing five of its six games.
Jian Salarzon was the lone Blue Eagle to score in double figures with 10 points, while Kennedy Batas had eight points. Ateneo gave up 29 errors in the match.
Three more teams in VNS-One Alicia (2-3) and Army-Katinko and Sta. Rosa, who are tied at 1-4, are fighting for the last semis berth.
Spikers’ Turf: NU-Sta. Elena drubs Sta. Rosa to close in on semis berth
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