CSB Blazers outlast Perpetual in five-set thriller to capture first-ever NCAA crown
The CSB Blazers raise the NCAA trophy for the first time since joining the league in 1998. Jerome Ascano

THE long wait is over for College of St. Benilde as Season MVP Johnvic de Guzman poured a game-high 28 points to lead the Blazers to a 25-12, 21-25, 17-25, 25-14, 18-16 win to dethrone University of Perpetual Help in the NCAA Season 92 men's volleyball tournament on Tuesday at The Arena in San Juan.

De Guzman had 26 of his points on kills as CSB captured its first championship since it joined the league in 1998.

“Pinaghirapan talaga (namin) especially sa personal ko. Pag tungtong ko sa Benilde noong college, ito ‘yung frustration ko, na hindi talaga namin nakuha,” said CSB coach Arnold Laniog, who played for the Blazers in the mid 2000’s. 

“Tapos noong nag-coach ako, there are a lot of times na nasa Finals ako pero ‘di talaga nakuha (ang championship) after 17 years ko sa CSB, nakuha na rin,” he added.

De Guzman was unstoppable as he led the Blazers to storm back from a 12-7 deficit in the fifth set to tie the decider at 13-all.

The Altas reached match point, 14-13, but de Guzman spoiled their celebration anew, 14-14.

From a 16-all game, de Guzman pushed CSB at match point followed by a block kill of eventual Finals MVP Isaah Arda.

“Sabi ko (sa kanila) ito, ‘hindi pa rin madali (ang paalo) dahil hindi ito bibitawan ng Perpetual’ so in fairness sa Perpetual, trumabaho sila noong second and third sets,” said Laniog.

“Hindi kami nakapasa, na-disorganize kami. Pagdating ng fourth set, sabi ko, ‘balik lang tayo kung ano kailangan natin, papasa tayo, set up ng play then attack,’” he added. 

Owen Bacani made 13 points for the Blazers, while Francis Basilan added 10.

Rey Taneo Jr. finished with 19 markers for UPH, while Esmail Kasim chipped in 10.

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