Go Warriors! Go for the Back-to-back championship in CeSAFI men's volleyball
AFTER failing to make it to the finals of the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. volleyball competition last year, the menís team of the University of San Jose-Recoletos is back on familiar grounds as it earned the right to challenge defending champion University of San Carlos in the finals tomorrow after winning their respective semifinals matches Sunday night at the USC gym.
USJ-R, the 2004-2005 champions, leaned on their veteran savvy to outclass University of the Visayas in straight sets, 25-19, 25-18, 25-16. USC, on the other hand, survived the gritty advances of the University of Southern Philippines Foundation, whom USC needed four sets to oust.
The finals battle mirrors that of 2006, when USJ-R was the one gunning for a grandslam title and USC hampered it by winning the 2006 title. This time, the roles swapped with USC looking to be the first menís team to win three straight titles, and USJ-R being the challenger.
ďAnything could happen. As clichť as it may sound, the ball is round and anyone could win the title this year,Ē said USJ-R head coach Grace Antigua.
Antigua said she will be banking on her teamís solid teamwork for their bid to get back on the top of the heap. ďAs long as they continue to work together as a team then we could give USC a good fight,Ē said Antigua.
USC on the other hand, had to take a longer route to the final round as they needed four sets to get past last yearís runner-up, USPF, 26-24, 28-26, 15-25 and 25-23.
USPF put up a good fight taking the lead, 11-9, at the start of the game. However, behind the two-time MVP Roderick Arenasa, USC snatched the lead to their side, 21-18.
USPF came crawling back as team captain Erwin Inso initiated a 6-3 rally that tied the score 24-all, forcing for a slide. The set eventually went to USC, 26-24, behind the efforts of Kennith Bensig, Jerone Maestre and Dexter Tuazon.
The same scenario happened in the second set. After USPF set the tone with an early lead, things took a dramatic turn when USC snatched the driverís seat, behind the furious rally of Bonvie Estrera,.
Estrera scored five straight points to widen USCís lead. This was later erased when USPFís Edward YbaŮez, Michael Ryan Abut and John Paul Pabololot answered back with resounding attacks for the game to once more be tied at set-point.
Jerone Maestre and Arenasa then stepped up for USC to win the set and take a 2-0 lead.
USPF was at the brink of an impending loss but they never ran out of determination as they took USC by surprise in the third set. Enjoying a two-set lead, USC relaxed
and allowed USPFís Erwin Inso, YbaŮez and Ramil Espinosa to hammer them with impossible shots that extended the game to fourth set.
This jolted USC back to life and opened the fourth set with more grit to saunter off to a 16-9 lead. USPF managed to move to within a point, 22-23, but two straight errors from their side eventually gave USC the ticket to the finals. (MCB)