National U-Sta. Elena turned back VNS-One Alicia, 25-17, 20-25, 25-21, 27-25, on Tuesday to complete a sweep of the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference semifinal round and build momentum heading into the championship series.
The Nationals unwrapped a complete package at Paco Arena in Manila, fighting through a second-set hiccup and a tense finish in the fourth frame to survive the Griffins’ stubborn stand.
Nico Almendras scored 26 points and Mike Buddin added 13 as National U oiled its engine heading into the best-of-three showdown against either the Cignal HD Spikers or the Navy Sealions.
“Credit to my players; they did their best and played within the system,” said Sta. Elena coach Dante Alinsunurin. “They played a little bit relaxed the last time out [against Navy] but at least we still got the win.”
The Griffins, who bowed out of the finals race after dropping their first two matches, actually looked poised to force a deciding set against the highly fancied Nationals. But the steel-nerved Nationals proved to be steadier in the finish.