INSTITUTO Estetico Manila booked itself in history as the first team to win in the inaugural men’s division of the Shakey’s V-League after disposing Systema Tooth & Gum Care in five sets during the opener of the Foreign Reinforced Conference Sunday at The Arena in San Juan.
Jason Canlas of National College of Business and Arts poured in 16 points for IEM, while backing him up were Far Eastern University standout Karl dela Calzada and Jeffrey Jimenez, who both chipped in 13 in the 17-25, 25-19, 25-18, 23-25, 15-12 win.
The Volley Masters were dragged to the limit as they needed two hours and 17 minutes to win the match.
But considering the team only conducted a tryout on Friday and had its formal practice on the eve of the tournament showed IEM still has a lot to show.
“We just had a formal training last night. Ayaw ko pa nga tawaging practice 'yun, sabi ko lang papawis kasi nagpa-tryout ako Friday lang,” revealed IEM coach Jun Balubar.
“But it showed the character of the team,” he added.
Up by two sets at the end of the third, IEM threatened to finish the match after coming to within 23-24. But a service error by team captain Rennz Ordoñez handed Systema the set and extended the game.
The Active Smashers rolled on to start the deciding set behind an 8-6 lead, before the Volley Masters went on a 6-0 run to snatch the lead, 12-8.
Systema later cut the deficit at 12-14, but PJ Rojas' outside hit ended the Active Smashers’ hope of pulling off a reverse.
Dela Calzadam Salvador Timbal, Michael Conde, Jimenez, and Carlo Almario are all holdovers of IEM’s roster in the Philippine Super Liga.
The team had seven new players but Karl Rosete from Baguio is the one to look out for, according to Balubar.
“Open hitter siya (Rosete) galing pa (sa byahe mula) ng Baguio kaya wala pa sa kundisyon pero pag naka-adjust na 'yan. Magaling 'yan,” said the IEM coach.