Aguilas against Team Dasmariñas in men’s Champions League final


GO for Gold and Team Dasmariñas teetered against their respective semifinals opponents on Friday to advance to the final and earn the distinction of becoming the first men’s champion of the Philippine National Volleyball Federation Champions League at the Aquamarine Recreational Center in Lipa City.

The Aguilas brought down Global Remit, 26-28, 25-22, 25-18, 25-19, a victory that took eight minutes short of two hours to complete, while Team Dasmariñas toiled even more in surviving VNS Manileño Spikers, 25-20, 30-28, 20-25, 21-25, 18-16, needing two hours and 18 minutes to win.

The one-match final is set at 4 p.m. on Saturday with the battle for bronze between Friday’s losers scheduled for 1:30 pm. The victor will join F2 Logistics as the first of winners of the Champions League and will earn the right to represent the country in the Asian.

Josafat, a University of the East middle blocker, starred for the Aguilas with four blocks and three service aces for 15 points.

“My mindset is to be ready. Every game, my coach will tell me to be prepared,” said Josafat, who entered the match in the second set. “I need to be focused in blockings, in attacks.”

Aguilas mentor Dante Alinsunurin was happy the way Josafat responded in the one-hour, 52-minute match.

“He [Josafat] gave us energy inside the court,” said Alinsunurin, whose squad remained unbeaten in three matches in the tournament that has Rebisco, Pitmaster Foundation Inc., Top Speed, 1Pacman Party-list, Philippine Sports Commission and Philippine Olympic Committee as platinum sponsors and F2 Logistics, Asics, PLDT, MVP Sports Foundation and Mikasa as gold sponsors and BCDA, Philippine Red Cross, Lipa City, Davis Paint and Emerald PVC Pipes, Fittings and Doors as silver sponsors with PNVF godfather, Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, chairman of the Champions League, giving his full support.

Mark Calado powered Team Dasmariñas to the thrilling victory. He scored all but one of his 28 points from spikes as they withstood the Manileño Spikers’ fightback from two sets down to emerge victorious in the semifinal.

Madzlan Gampong had three blocks for a 17-point effort while Ronniel Rosales chipped in 13 points, including for the Monarchs.

The Monarchs simply held their composure after the Manileño Spikers rallied back from two sets down to force a fifth set.

“I told my teammates to stay calm. I simply wanted to win,” said Calado, who scored back-to-back kills to put the Monarchs at match-point.

Setter Cian Silang then drilled in a service ace to ice the game for the Monarchs.

The Monarchs played without Head Coach Norman Miguel, who was quarantined on Friday for breaking health protocols. He had to undergo another antigen test and will be available for the gold medal match on Saturday if he yields a negative result.

“Our team manager [Ramil Ranario] really wants us to win the title for us to compete in the Asian Club,” said Alinsunurin, who also handled Rebisco-Philippines in the continental club tournament held in Nakhon, Ratchasima, Thailand, last October.

John Vic de Guzman led the Aguilas with 16 points, Kim Malabunga had 10 points and Rueben Inaudito also scored 10 points to go with eight digs.

Setter Kim Dayadante tossed in 29 excellent sets and matched Josafat’s four blocks, while libero Ricky Marcos tallied 16 receptions and 15 receptions.

The loss negated Joeven dela Vega’s 23-point effort for Global Remit, which failed to sustain its opening set win as Go for Gold stepped up its game in the second set. Joshua Zareno and Alex Disquitado added 15 and 11 points, respectively.

Also on Friday, MRT-Negros repeated over regional rival Sabong International Spikers (SIS), 20-25, 25-14, 20-25, 25-21, 15-5, to finish in fifth place.

Skipper Christian Marcelino again showed the for MRT-Negros with 16 points and eight digs as the Negros Occidental-based squad’s campaign with two straight wins.

Rallying from a 1-2 set deficit to prevail, MRT-Negros reasserted its might over its opponents from Negros Oriental, which Coach Ralph Savelleno’s side also won in five sets on opening day.

“It’s an honor to play in this kind of league. I’m very proud of my team. It’s a good experience for us,” said Savelleno, whose MRT-Negros is the youngest squad in the tournament with an average age of 21.

“We dedicate this game to our player who passed away last night [Thursday], Mike Beronio, our aspiring MRT-Negros player,” he added. A Colegio de San Agustin-Bacolod standout, Beronio died in a motorcycle accident in Bacolod City at the age of 24.

Young guns Leo Ordiales and Jian Matthew Salarzon each had 15 points, Jhun Kahulugan had two service aces to finish with 11 points. Gadpray Aresgado had 10 points, including three blocks, for MRT-Negros.

Jelord Talisayan led SIS with 16 points and nine digs while Charles David Absin contributed 13 points, including two blocks.

SIS, with a win to show, placed sixth ahead of Basilan Steel Spikers Amin-Anak Mindanao.

Image courtesy of PNVF

Read full article on BusinessMirror