La Salle, NCBA in no-tomorrow showdown for last semis berth in Spikers' Turf
The NCBA Wildcats blew an outright semis berth in the Spikers Turf Collegiate Conference after losing to UP Fighting Maroons in their last outing. Dante Peralta

LA Salle and National College of Business and Arts clash Saturday in a knockout duel for the fourth and last semifinal seat in the Spikers' Turf Season 1-Collegiate Conference at The Arena in San Juan City.

The Wildcats blew clinching the outright berth as they bowed to the ousted UP Maroons, 21-25, 25-22, 19-25, 25-23, 11-15, last Wednesday, enabling the Archers to force a playoff at 3-4 after the quarters phase of the tournament presented by PLDT Home Ultera.

La Salle also squandered its first crack at the semis when it lost to the Emilio Aguinaldo College in four, also last Wednesday, making the knockout game at 5 p.m. a match to watch.

“We need to play with urgency,” said NCBA coach Ernesto Balubar, who will pin his hopes again on guest players Reyson Fuentes and Edwin Tolentino and mainstays John Domingo, Jason Canlas and setter Jumbo Nidua.

The winner will face top seed Ateneo in the Final Four while National U and NCAA champion EAC clash in the other semis duel, both best-of-three.

The Wildcats hope to buck the rigors of playing three five setters and a total of 19 sets in four quarterfinal matches in the league backed by Mikasa and organized by Sports Vision.sturf KO

But NCBA won two of their three five-set matches, including a thrilling 25-27, 22-25, 25-22, 25-23, 15-9, over La Salle last Aug. 19.

“We have to start strong and show the same composure as in our last game,” said Balubar.

But the Archers are out to rebound and arrange a highly anticipated showdown with college rival Ateneo, with coach Ronald Dulay confident of drawing the best from Arjay Onia, Cris Dumago, Ralph Calasin, Raymark Woo, Levin Dimayuga and setter Geuel Asia.

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