UNIVERSITY of Perpetual Help is within arm’s reach of sustaining its dominance in the NCAA men's volleyball tournament.
The Altas bucked a slow start to cruise past Emilio Aguinaldo College, 25-22, 25-17, 25-16, and are just a win away from retaining its title at The Arena in San Juan on Saturday.
After surviving a stiff competition from the challengers in the opening set, the defending champions had a smooth-sailing from then on as they finished the game in straight sets to gain a head start in the best-of-three title series.
The Altas have stretched their winning streak to 24 games dating back to the second round of the eliminations last season. They go for the kill when Game Two of the Finals is played on Monday.
“Yung sa first set nag-lapse kami, naunahan kami ng puntos ng EAC, nawala yung focus namin. Pero as the set goes by, nalaman na namin mga plays nila,” setter Ralph Diezmo said.
Adam Daquer and Edmar Sanchez were mostly the recipients of Diezmo’s 18 of Perpetual’s 20 excellent sets as both players fired 12 points apiece to lead the Las Piñas-based squad.
“Pinag-handaan talaga namin sila,” Diezmo said. “Isa lang `yung pumapatay sa kanila,` yung (Howard) Mojica lang.”
Mojica exploded for 27 markers, but found little help from his teammates. The Generals’ scoring sensation provided a measure of hope for EAC when he scored on two straight attacks to give the team a 10-7 lead in the third set.
The Altas, though, banked on a back-breaking 11-1 salvo that took the fight out of the Generals.
Diezmo hopes the Altas will continue their blistering run and finish the series in Game Two and prevent any Generals uprising.
“Kailangan na naming tapusin yun kasi pag binigyan pa namin ng pagkakataon manalo ang EAC, hindi pa kami sigurado, mahihirapan pa kami sa third game.”