SYSTEMA Tooth and Gum Care came back from two sets down to nip Instituto Estetico Manila, 21-25, 23-25, 25-19, 25-23, 16-14, and moved a win away from bagging the inaugural men’s championship of the Shakey's V-League Season 11 Foreign Reinforced Conference.
Patrick Rojas and Angelo Espiritu stepped up with 15 points apiece, while Rocky Honrada and Chris Macasaet added 14 and 10 markers, respectively for the Active Smashers, who needed to win the last three sets to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three Finals.
Systema goes for the kill on Sunday when Game Two of the title series is held also at The Arena.
“It's all about mental game. Kung gusto nating manalo, pilitin na natin, kahit anong mangyari,” said Systema coach Arnold Laniog following the two-hour, 29-minute match.
Trailing 9-11 in the fifth and final set, the Active Smashers hit back-to-back hits to tie the game at 11-11.
IEM reached match point, 14-13, but Systema scored the game’s last three points to clinch the come-from-behind win.
Myco Antonio, who just recovered from acid reflux, had 10 points for Systema.
The Active Smashers dominated the blocking department (18-5) and rained seven service aces against none for the Phoenix Volley Masters.
“I emphasized that we are a taller team than them (IEM). As much as possible, we don't want to dominate their open hitters,” said Laniog.
Karl dela Calzada had 20 points, from 18 hits and two spikes, for IEM, while Rudy Gardula and Jason Canlas combined for 21 markers.