UNIVERSITY of Perpetual Help coach Sammy Acaylar turned emotional after the Altas completed what he considered as the most unexpected championship run in his stint as the team's coach in the NCAA men’s volleyball tournament.
The veteran coach was in tears after UPH defeated Arellano University, 23-25, 27-25, 25-19, 25-23, in the decider of the best-of-three of the finals in Season 93 on Thursday at The Arena in San Juan.
Yet despite winning his 11th title with the team, Acaylar explained that this season's championship was one of the sweetest because it was the one he least expected.
“Actually from the start, hindi ko talaga sila ine-expect na mag-(championship) run (kami),” said the outspoken Acaylar. “Pumasok lang ng top four, tapos lalaban ng championship? No.”
“Lagi silang naiinsulto sa akin because lagi kong pinagagalitan na hindi ito 'yung pang-champion team,” he added.
Fortunately for the men's national team mentor, his wards in Perpetual were more than willing to prove him wrong.
The Altas started to win one game after another all the way to sweep the nine-match elimination round and earn an outright Finals berth.
“But then, noong nag-start kami ng elimination, nakita ko 'yung potential nila. Ibig sabihin, lahat ng gusto ko, nasusunod so pwede pa kaming mag-champion,” said Acaylar.
“Noong pumasok na kami ng top four, ayun na, talagang hinahawakan ko siya,” he added.
UPH faced a major hurdle when AU pulled off a, 25-12, 21-25, 25-19, 24-26, 9-15, win in the series opener.
The Altas got back on their feet in Game Two all the way to win their 11th title in the league.
Looking back, Acaylar could only shed tears of joy.
“Kaya nga naiyak ako dahil ang hirap eh,” he said.