INSTITUTO Estetico Manila emerged on top after another see-saw battle with Systema, pulling off a 25-21, 24-26, 25-22, 14-25, 15-12, at The Arena in San Juan on Sunday to become the first ever Shakey’s V-League men’s champion.
The Volley Masters completed a comeback to win the series 2-1. It was a fitting end to the title series, with all three matches going the distance. Systema won the opener but IEM forced a rubber match in yet another five-setter last week.
Jeffrey Jimenez, who bagged both the conference and Finals MVP awards, scored 16 in the deciding match for IEM, while Karl de la Calzada and Rudy Gatdula added 14 and 10, respectively.
"Sabi ko forget all about the first four sets, this (fifth set) is just race to 15 kailangan unahan natin sila," IEM coach Jun Balubar.
"Jump the gun, go on the blocking 'wag makuntento sa isang block, dalawahin, tatluhin, sunud-sunurin para magkaroon tayo ng segments ng points. Nangyari naman, nag respond naman and I'm so happy kasi ang galing ng team," he added.
The Volley Masters took a 11-6 lead in the fifth set after a Rocky Honrade setting error.
Chris Macasaet's power hit gave life to the weary Active Smashers, while IEM gave away two points that made it 9-11.
IEM's Jason Canlas scored on a cross court spike for match point, 14-11. Angelo Espiritu scored with an off the block attack but Gatdula's own off the block spike sealed the win for the Phoenix Volley Masters.
"Actually ang dami nagsasabi work for the history. Sabi ko naman pressure lang 'yan, eh ang sabi ko lang sa team ko, treat this like any other ordinary game, walang pressure. We will just go out there and have fun, play and play intelligent volleyball and have fun." said Balubar.
"I-set aside ’yung tinatawag na history kasi baka makadagdag ng pressure," added the veteran mentor.
Macasaet led the Active Smashers with 25 points, while John Depante and Honrade added nine markers.