ARELLANO University frustrated erstwhile unbeaten University of Perpetual Help, 12-25, 25-21, 19-25, 26-24, 15-9, to draw first blood in the best-of-three Finals in the NCAA Season 93 men’s volleyball tournament on Friday at The Arena in San Juan.
Christian dela Paz starred for AU with a game-high 24 points to deny the Joeward Almodiel-led UPH.
The Chiefs, who dethroned College of St. Benilde in the stepladder semifinals, can finish the series on Monday to win its first NCAA men’s volleyball title since joining the league in 2009.
“Wala munang celebration. ‘Yung Perpetual kaya bumawi. So kailangan magprepare kami, hindi pa ‘yan tapos pero maghahanda kami ng maganda sa Game 2,” said AU coach Sherwin Meneses.
UPH, which swept its way to the Finals, collapsed late in the game with a couple of unforced errors that allowed AU to take an early 5-0 lead in the fifth set all the way to a 10-4 contest.
Almodiel, who was hailed as the Rookie-MVP, delivered 18 points for UPH, while Ridzuan Muhali added 14, John Patrick Ramos had 13 and skipper Rey Taneo chipped in 12.