Spikers' Turf: NU-Sta. Elena stays unbeaten after sweeping VNS

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 13 2022 05:29 PM

NU-Sta. Elena is now 4-0 in the 2022 Spikers' Turf Open Conference. PVL Media.
NU-Sta. Elena is now 4-0 in the 2022 Spikers' Turf Open Conference. PVL Media.

MANILA, Philippines -- National University (NU)-Sta. Elena displayed its composure in an extended first set en route to a sweep of the VNS One Alicia Griffins on Tuesday afternoon at the Paco Arena in Manila.

The Nationals recovered from a slow start to snatch the opening frame, and rode that momentum to a 33-31, 25-17, 25-18 triumph over the Griffins. They improved to 4-0 in the 2022 Spikers' Turf Open Conference, sealing their place in the semifinals.

Kennry Malinis fired 16 points, all on kills, while Mike Buddin earned Player of the Match honors after tallying 10 hits, three blocks, and two aces for 15 points. Nico Almendras had nine points, as NU-Sta. Elena tallied 45 kills in the match.

"Of course siyempre, maganda 'yung naging resulta, nanalo kami. But 'yung first set namin, medyo nangangapa kami sa sitwasyon namin, kung ano 'yung dapat naming gawin," NU coach Dante Alinsunurin said.

The Nationals had to save five set points in the first frame, with VNS taking a 29-28 lead after Kim Malabunga blocked Congolese student-athlete Obed Mukaba. A hit by Buddin and an NU block gave them a set point, 30-29, but Malabunga's hit forced another deadlock, 30-30.

The Griffins were still in the hunt, thanks to a service error by Mukaba that made it 31-31, but clutch hits by Malinis and Jenngerard Diao finally gave the victory to NU-Sta. Elena.

"Noong last part ng first set, nakuha namin kung ano 'yung dapat naming gawin. 'Yung sistema namin, nakuha na namin kaya tuloy-tuloy na 'yung panalo namin," said Alinsunurin.

It was all NU from there, as they pounced on VNS' unforced errors while also establishing their net defense to frustrate the opposing spikers. The high-flying Ben San Andres was limited to nine points; Kevin Montemayor led the Griffins with 14 points.

VNS-One Alicia dropped to 2-2 in the Open Conference.

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