Fall down once, stand up and fight eleven times.
The De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde Blazers completed an epic comeback in Game 2 of the NCAA Season 92 men’s volleyball Finals in five sets, 25-12, 21-25, 17-25, 25-14, 18-16, over the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas, Tuesday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
Season MVP and team captain John Vic De Guzman delivered 28 huge markers in his swan song, 26 coming from attacks. Graduating setter Mark Deximo also pulled off 55 excellent sets for the newly crowned champions.
“Stepping stone namin ito. Mas nag-prepare kami, dinamdam namin, emotionally tinanggap namin ito as motivation,” the season MVP said.
Reception efficiency was the name of the game, as it determined who took the sets.
In the second and third sets, last year’s titlists Altas summoned their championship heart and pounced on the opportunity presented with slick transitions. Captain Manuel Doliente carried the fight scoring most of his points in the two frames.
“Walang imposible, apply natin lahat, sanay tayo sa ganito, nagsakripisyo tayo. Hindi matatapos ang araw nang di natin makukuha ito,” De Guzman recalled telling his teammates.
Nonetheless, when smoke cleared and with their own transition on point, the Taft-based squad simply blew by the opponents in fiery fashion.
The fifth set ensued as a classic with the Blazers carrying the momentum in the frame.
“Basta ‘pag crucial, iba ang confidence ko sa mga players ko na mas nakakapag-isip sila, mas kampante sila, kaya nila mag-deliver at kaya nila controllin yung situasyon,” he admitted. “Nangyari nga, yung last 3 points, ang daming errors na ng perpetual. Sabi ko umangat talaga ang mental toughness ng mga players.”
The Altas made their last stand and tried to extend the series, with skipper Manuel Doliente showing his skills at floor defense, foiling Blazers’ attack.
However, as had transpired the whole match, Ron Jordan made sure that they ended it in this game, as he fired off huge services that made it difficult for a decent pass from Perpertual. This sent the Blazers to the cusp of the title.
Owen Bacani had a championship point, but it was erased by the maroon-shirts. It might have been fitting, though, that in the next instance it was De Guzman who made his last serves in his collegiate career.
The last play was like a send-off to the seniors and a passing of the torch. A huge pickup from De Guzman was perfectly set up by Mark Deximo, and was then smartly finished by Isaah Arda.
For Laniog, the title fulfilled what was his biggest dream after leaving college.
“Pinaghirapan talaga, especially sa personal ko. Pag tungtong ko sa benilde noong college, ito yung frustration ko, na hindi talaga namin nakuha,” he said.
“Tapos noong nag-coach ako, there are a lot of times na nasa finals ako pero di talaga nakuha. After 17 yrs ko sa CSB, nakuha na rin.”
NCAA Season 91 Finals MVP Jun Taneo showed off his big-time game composure after finishing with 19 points for the Altas.
CSB 3 – De Guzman 28, Bacani 18, Basilan 10, Arda 7, Deximo 4, Orian 3, Jordan 2, Dy (L), Garcia (L).
UPHSD 2 – Taneo Jr. 19, Kasim 10, Rosales 9, Sala-an 8, Doliente 8, Narvasa 2, Ramos 1, S. Taneo 0, R. Taneo 0, Atentar 0, Kalingking (L)