La Salle-EcoOil narrowly avoided a setback after fending off MKA-San Beda in a thrilling five-set match, with scores of 25-18, 25-22, 22-25, 21-25, 22-20, to maintain their unbeaten record in the Spikers’ Turf Invitational Conference at the Paco Arena on Sunday night.
The Green Oilers, having secured the first two sets, encountered challenges in the next two sets before ultimately clinching a significant victory in the extended decider, placing them at 3-0 in Group B.
“Satisfied in a way kasi nanalo pero parang kulang talaga, kulang. Ito, yung naglaro kanina starters from V-League, ngayon na lang ulit naglaro eh so it’s been almost a month bago sila naglaro ulit magkakasama. Nandoon pa rin kami sa ano na every game, maipakita lang yung best nila,” shared La Salle head coach Jose Roque.
With the Red Spikers threatening to take control of the game, Noel Kampton, Nathaniel Del Pilar, and JM Ronquillo each contributed to a 3-0 surge, turning a 10-11 disadvantage into a commanding 13-11 lead in the fifth set.
Kampton, however, committed a service error before Greg Munsing executed a quick hit, tying the game at 13. Vince Maglinao brought the Green Oilers to match point, but a service error by Jules De Jesus forced the game into a deuce.
Subsequently, both teams exchanged hits before Ronquillo unleashed a powerful cross-court hit, followed by Joshua Rodriguez's game-clinching block on Andre Bakil.
“Sana mabalik namin yung naglalaro kami nang buo kasi may pagkakataon na nagkakanya-kanya sila to the point na hindi na sila nagtutulungan. Gusto ko lang makita ulit how we played during V-League championship,” expressed Roque.
Kampton led the charge for La Salle with 22 points from 19 attacks and three service aces, while Ronquillo contributed 20 points from 14 attacks, five blocks, and one ace after a thrilling two hours and eight minutes of play.
Del Pilar recorded seven significant blocks, totaling 18 points, while De Jesus delivered 16 points along with 17 excellent receptions. Diogenes Poquita orchestrated the team with 26 excellent sets, and Menard Guerrero contributed 20 excellent receptions and eight excellent digs in the contest.
Kevin Montemayor led the 1-2 Red Spikers with 22 points, comprising 21 attacks and one block, along with six excellent digs, while Axel Book and Bakil added 18 and 15 points, respectively, in the defeat.