With barely a rest coming off a victory over Letran, National U-Sta. Elena continued to pick up steam, beating Perpetual-Kinto Tyres, 25-21, 25-15, 25-21, to bolster its bid in the semifinal round of the Spikers’ Turf Invitational Conference at the Philsports Arena in Pasig Saturday morning.
Despite grappling with persistent unforced errors, the Nationals demonstrated an improved sense of timing, overwhelming the Altas with their power game and hustle to get back into strong contention after suffering a shutout loss from the Cignal HD Spikers last Wednesday.
“’Yung naging timing namin ngayon, medyo umaakyat na rin. Although nandiyan pa rin yung mga unforced errors na hindi namin matanggal-tanggal,” said NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin, whose wards trounced the Saints Spikers in four just last Friday.
The Nationals actually wavered after controlling the early going in the third, enabling the Las-Piñas based squad to storm ahead at 21-20 on a Jefferson Marapoc’s off-the-block hit.
But Rwenzmel Taguibolos and Leo Ordiales took over for the Nationals, combining in a decisive 5-0 finishing kick to frustrate the Altas and secure the victory in one hour and 18 minutes.
Nico Almendras top-scored for the Nationals with 14 points on 11 attacks, two aces and one block and finished with 12 excellent receptions, while Ordiales stepped up with 12 points on 11 attacks and one block, putting up another impressive performance when the team needed it most.
“Si Leo Ordiales, nandiyan naman talaga ‘yan. Hindi lang nabibigyan ng time kasi nga talagang bata pa, pero nung nangailangan kami, buti nag-deliver talaga siya,” added Alinsunurin.
Jade Disquitado and Taguibolos, who combined for five kill blocks in the victory, scored 10 points apiece while Obed Mukaba added nine markers.
Marapoc scored eight points while Louie Ramirez was held to just seven markers but came up with 10 excellent receptions and four digs for Perpetual, which slipped to 0-2 in the five-team round robin semis phase.
NU, meanwhile, seeks a third straight win as it faces Japanese guest squad Maruichi Hyogo tomorrow while Perpetual will tangle with the unbeaten Cignal side.