When everything is on the line, it pays to have the best player of the tournament playing in your squad. That’s what the NCAA Season 94 men’s volleyball MVP Joebert Almodiel and the Perpetual Altas proved after the CSB Blazers valiantly fought to force a fifth set in Game 2 of the best-of-three Finals series. Instead, the Sammy Acaylar-coached squad clinched back-to-back titles and 12th overall in NCAA history.
It looked as if the Altas will easily clinch the championship after mounting a 20-11 lead in the fourth and deciding set. The Blazers had other plans as they launched a furious 10-2 run, punctuated by a Ruvince Abrot cross court shot, to pull within 22-21. A Gabriel Casana off-speed shot and a service error brings the count to 23-22 with CSB holding serve.
But just when the Altas’ confidence are shaking, the MVP carried them on his shoulders. His successful spike from the middle gave the Las Pinas-based squad championship point. However, Ronnie Adviento took one back to trim the deficit to 24-23. Yet on the last play of the game, the pride of Cebu received a nice back set from Casana and spiked the ball to the corner of Zone 5 to give Perpetual the set, the match, and the championship, 25-23.
Almodiel was also named Finals MVP while Acaylar, guiding Perpetual to a perfect 11-0 season, won Coach of the Year honors.
The Blazers pulled away late in the fiercely-fought opening set. A spiking error by Perpetual team captain John Patrick Ramos and a successful attack by Ronnie Adviento gave CSB a 23-21 advantage. Almodiel scored from a combination play to pull to within one.
A double touch violation by Gabriel Casana gave the Blazers set point but an off-target spike from Ronnie Adviento made the tally 24-23. A Ramos service error ended the set at 25-23 for Benilde. While the Altas had the advantage in attacks, 14-11, they committed a whopping 11 errors as compared to CSB’s five.
Perpetual dominated the second set from a 2-2 deadlock to enter the first technical timeout at 8-5. The lead went as high as eight points, 16-8, before the Blazers triggered a mini-run to trim the deficit to 19-13. But the Altas regained their momentum since and finished set two at 25-17 courtesy of a net touch error by CSB setter Kevin Magsino.
The Altas won set three with identical scores. They raced to a 5-1 lead and held to an 8-6 advantage going into the first TTO. The lead stretched to 19-12 but the Arnold Laniog-coached Blazers came to within five, 21-16. Perpetual sparked a 4-1 run to end the set at 25-17.
The Altas’ conquest gave the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta its second championship of the day. Their boy’s volleyball squad clinched their fifth-straight crown and 11th over-all over the Letran Squires.