NU-Sta Elena stuns seasoned Cignal to win Spikers' Turf title | Inquirer Sports

NU-Sta Elena stuns seasoned Cignal to win Spikers’ Turf title

/ 09:42 PM December 15, 2023

NU- Sta. Elena Nationals.

NU- Sta. Elena Nationals. –PVL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — National University-Sta. Elena continued to play the role of Cignal’s tormentor as the young college squad denied the seasoned club team of having a perfect year in the 2023 Spikers’ Turf season.

Jade Disquitado, the youngest man on the floor, was nearly unstoppable with a career-high 34 points as the Nationals picked the perfect time to snap the HD Spikers’ 25-game winning streak with an amazing come-from-behind 22-25, 25-22, 21-25, 25-22, 15-8 victory in the Invitational Conference Final on Friday evening at FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.

The NU rookie was named the Most Valuable Player of the final after his sensational performance.

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National U showed no signs of intimidation against Cignal, which has yet to lose a Spikers’ Turf game before this, even when it went down to a 1-2 match deficit as Best Opposite Spiker Leo Ordiales and graduating spiker Nico Almendras joined hands to break a tie at 20 in the fourth frame for a 23-21 lead.

Disquitado put on the finishing touches in the fourth to force a decider, where he set the tone for the Nationals with a 6-2 start before Nico Almendras took charge and extended the lead to 13-8 followed by Disquitado’s fifth point to reach match point.

Leo Aringo nailed the championship-clinching block on Jau Umandal to deny Cignal from completing a grand slam and sweeping the tournament.

“I didn’t want to let go of the trust given to me by coach because we have a healthy competition within the team for this position. I grabbed that chance to play her in the final,” said Disquitado in Filipino after scoring 31 kills, two aces, and a block.

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“Kuya Owa [Retamar] also trusted us and guided us inside the court. He made it easy for us,” he added.

NU.Sta Elena's Jade Disquitado.

NU–Sta Elena’s Jade Disquitado. –PVL PHOTO

NU coach Dante Alinsunurin delivered Sta. Elena’s second championship, following last year’s 2022 Open Conference title run against Cignal.

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“Before we played this game, I told my players that we should end this year as a champion,” said Alinsunurin in Filipino. “Credits to my players because they really worked hard to find a solution to our problems even though we still struggled in this championship game. We also used our [semis] loss to Cignal as motivation.”

Graduating setter Joshua Retamar, who had 25 excellent sets and four blocks to finish with six points, was emotional after the championship as he started his NU farewell tour with a championship in the Spikers’ Turf.

“This is my last playing year with NU next UAAP so I was emotional,”  he said. “It was hard at first because me and Nico were like rookies when we rejoined our team. But going to the final, I told them to help each other and cherish every moment because this is my last year with them.”

Almendras delivered the goods with 20 points and 22 excellent receptions. Aringo had 10 points highlighted by four blocks, while Obed Mukaba chipped in nine points.

Cignal, which swept the Open Conference and 10 games before the Invitationals championship, settled for silver with Umandal leading the way with 23 points and 25 receptions.

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JP Bugaoan had 20 points for the HD Spikers, while Ysay Marasigan had 17 points.

TAGS: Cignal HD Spikers, Josh Retamar, spikers’ turf, Sta. Elena

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