In a duel between two teams with the most successful programs in the country, Sta. Elena-National University clobbered Kinto Tyres-Perpetual Help, 25-18, 25-17, 25-18, to crowd Fudgee Barr-Ateneo and Army at the top of Pool A in the Spikers’ Turf Invitational Conference yesterday at Paco Arena.
Team captain Joshua Retamar put up a superb all-around performance, tossing 15 excellent sets and finishing with eight points built on four aces, three blocks and one attack to help power the Nationals to the straight-set romp.
“Of course, we’re happy with the result,” said NU coach Dante Alinsunurin, whose wards bowed to the Altas in the V-League Collegiate eliminations last month.
“This win redeemed up from our loss in the V-League. We were hurt with that setback but it’s good that we have finally made up for it.”
In the first game, Saints and Lattes-Letran bucked the odds, including a number of service miscues, to stun Sta. Rosa City, 25-21, 25-18, 25-16.
The Saints Spikers leaned on the troika of Vince Himzon, John Bautista, and Steven Sta. Maria to outshine veterans Ish Polvorosa, Ronniel Rosales and Rikko Marmeto and fashion out the straight-set romp for an early share of the lead in Pool C with Davies Paints-Adamson.
The Nationals breezed past the Altas in the first two sets then broke away from a tight 18-17 count in the third as Retamar peppered Perpetual with heavy serves that led to a decisive six-point run for a 23-17 bulge.
Though Retamar himself cut the team’s endgame blitz with a service error, Jade Disquitado rose over the block and Michaelo Buddin sealed the victory with an emphatic block on Louie Ramirez.
Buddin led the team with 12 points on 10 attacks and added four excellent digs, Obed Mukaba had 10 markers while Leo Aringo chipped in eight points in the Nationals’ one-hour and 17- minute victory.