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Nationals near quarters

Sta. Elena-National University flashed its awesome power to fashion out a 63-minute demolition of Don Pacundo-De La Salle University Dasmariñas, 25-10, 25-18, 25-18, to roll to its third straight victory in Pool A in the Spikers’ Turf Invitational Conference at the Paco Arena in Manila Friday.

Michaelo Buddin fired 19 points on an impressive 15-of-28 attack rate and made three blocks and an ace while spiking his superb all-around game with nine excellent receptions and six digs as the Nationals kept their unblemished slate heading to the next matches against the D’Navigators Iloilo (1-2) and the Army Troopers (1-1) while closing in on one of the two berths in the next phase.

Unlike in the first and third sets where the Nationals built early huge leads en route to trouble-free wins, they were dragged into a tight battle by the Patriots halfway through the second frame with the latter pulling to within three, 13-16.

But Buddin combined with Leo Aringo and NU went on a 9-5 windup to frustrate the Cavite-based squad.

Aringo added 10 points in two sets as the Nationals dominated even without main setter Joshua Retamar, who is out with a minor injury, and middle blocker Gerard Diao, who failed to see action due to academic reasons.

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