MANILA, Philippines – In the 2022 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference, National University, Sta. Elena advanced after defeating Ateneo-Fudgee Barr on Saturday at Paco Arena, 25-14, 25-16, 25-19, bringing it one step closer to sweeping the elimination round.
In order for Nico Almendras and Michaelo Buddin to win their seventh straight match in a row, Retamar delivered 13 fantastic sets in addition to five points.
Obed Mukaba, a foreign student, scored nine points and recorded three blocks for NU-Sta Elena, which had 13 blocks to Ateneo’s meager three.
Joshua Retamar, the Nationals’ setter, demonstrated his exceptional playmaking, which inspired a team effort to eliminate their UAAP rivals from semifinal contention in just 75 minutes.
NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin says, “We displayed tremendous blocking. We had almost five blocks per set. That made the game easier for us.” (Translated)
Alinsunurin felt that collegiate men’s volleyball play had returned and that it was good to have assessed their skill against another UAAP squad.
“We believed that collegiate leagues were quickly approaching. For every school, this is crucial. We’re overjoyed that fans are attending our games now that college and semi-pro teams have finally returned,” says the Philippine Men’s Volleyball team head coach.
The conference’s biggest test for Alinsunurin and his young charges will come when Sta. Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., Elena will take against the defending champion Cignal (4-1) in an attempt to win the elimination round and secure the top seed for the best-of-three semifinals.
“Our team will face challenges. We are anticipating this matchup with a strong and reliable club team. We’ll do our best,” he promised.
Rookie-heavy Ateneo-Fudgee Barr ended the competition after dropping five of its six games.
In the opening set, which was won by Joshua Retamar’s crucial kill, 25-14, the Nationals raced out to a 16-7 lead and never looked back.
In the second frame, NU-Sta repeated the previous scenario. Elena got off to a fast start, and that ended up being the difference in a dominating 2-0 lead, or a score of 25-16.
However, the Blue Eagles remained competitive with the Nationals in the third, even grabbing the lead 12-11 halfway through.
NU-Sta. Elena, though, maintained composure late to defeat Ateneo-Fudgee Barr in straight sets, 25-19.