MANILA, Philippines – NU-Sta. Elena stamped its class in the 2022 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference playoffs with a four-set win over VNS-One Alicia, 25-17, 20-25, 25-21, 27-25, to sweep the round-robin semifinals at the Paco Arena on Tuesday, September 27.
Nico Almendras caught fire on offense to once again lead the Nationals with 26 points off 23 attacks, 2 blocks, and 1 ace as Joshua Retamar helped him and NU’s other attackers get their flow with 28 excellent sets.
Obed Mukaba scored 14 while Mike Buddin added 13 points and 18 excellent receptions to help end VNS-One Alicia’s title hopes.
Four Griffins breached double-digit scoring in the loss, led by Kevin Montemayor’s 13 points. Ben San Andres and Michael Christian Doria each scored 12, while Uriel Mendoza added 11 points as VNS now heads down to the battle for bronze.
Waiting for NU on the other end of the finals bracket are the Cignal HD Spikers, who earned the right to defend their title after a 25-22, 25-21, 25-20 sweep of top-seeded PGJC-Navy.
Superstar spiker Marck Espejo led the way with 16 points and 21 excellent receptions as Owen Suarez recorded 21 excellent sets to steer the offense.
Team captain Ysay Marasigan scored 14, while JP Bugaoan tallied 10 points in the statement win.
Both finalists will only get a day’s rest before they face off in Game 1 of the best-of-three finals on Thursday, September 29, 5:30 pm.
Meanwhile, VNS and the Navy will kick off the day’s double-header at 2:30 pm with Game 1 of their best-of-three battle for bronze. – Rappler.com