National University kicked off its V-League Collegiate Challenge title defense on a strong note, securing a hard-fought 25-22, 25-22, 25-19 sweep of Far Eastern University yesterday at the Paco Arena in Manila.
Despite a considerable number of errors throughout the match, the Bulldogs managed to clinch the victory against their University Athletic Association of the Philippines rivals.
Middle blocker Obed Mukaba presided over the attack, setting up Leo Aringo for a powerful kill in the crucial stretch of the third set to coast to their first victory.
“We’re happy with the result. At least we were able to win in straight sets,” NU coach Dante Alinsunurin said.
“Although we had some problems during the game because of our unforced errors, we were still able to pull off this win.”
Alinsunurin chose to sit out Joshua Retamar and Nico Almendras in this season’s lineup to give his younger players an opportunity to develop.
Alinsunurin was set to depart for Vietnam with PVL team Choco Mucho for the VTV Cup. The decorated tactician will be out until 26 August, prompting him to miss NU’s games against University of Santo Tomas on the 23rd and Emilio Aguinaldo College on the 25th.
Earlier, reigning National Collegiate Athletic Association champion University of Perpetual Help System Dalta overcame the absence of its star spiker Louie Ramirez and the challenge posed by a determined Emilio Aguinaldo College side to secure a 29-27, 26-24, 25-19 victory.
The defending NCAA champions had to manage without Ramirez, who had flown to Japan for a three-week training camp with V. League club Oita Miyoshi.
Captain JC Enarciso guided his team’s offense, while Klint Mateo played a crucial role in the end game for the Altas.
“During our game, of course it’s also an NCAA team, I told the boys that they should not be complacent. They should make sure to play well,” Altas head coach Sammy Acaylar said.