MANILA, Philippines – Fresh off a top four finish in the previous conference, the Sta. Elena-NU Ball Hammers swept the Mapua University Cardinals, 25-8, 25-19, 25-21, in Group D of the 2019 Spikers' Turf Open Conference at the Paco Arena on Thursday.
Reinforced Conference Best Middle Blocker Berhashidin Daymil led the attack with 11 points, six of which came from kill blocks.
"Normal lang, normal lang na laro namin. Medyo marami lang errors, kailangang i-work out pa namin saka 'yung blocking namin hindi pa ganun kaganda," said Sta. Elena head coach Dong Dela Cruz.
Team captain James Natividad and reigning UAAP Rookie of the Year Nico Almendras contributed nine markers each. The former also collected six excellent digs, while the latter added seven excellent receptions to his tally.
On the other hand, the Cardinals were paced by Mark Egan with nine points, all of which came from hits.
George Labang and the Adamson Soaring Falcons continued their strong start handing the NCBA Wildcats a close three-set loss, 25-23, 25-15, 25-23.
This is Adamson's second win in three days to gain early lead in Group A.
However, Pao Pablico did not expect his squad's slow third set after a dominant second frame.
"Nung third set lumaban 'yung NCBA kasi nag-relax na 'yung mga players namin, kasi nga tinambakan nila nung second set. 'Yung pagre-relax nila naging dikit 'yung game," lamented Adamson's new assistant coach.
Labang fired seven points while Royce Bello also added seven built on four attacks, two blocks, and an ace.
Baden Pabalate was the lone bright spot for the Wildcats with 10 points on 8 kills and 2 aces.
In the last game of the evening, Eco Oil-De La Salle University Green Spikers gave the Centro Escolar University Scorpions a rude welcome to the country's first-ever men's volleyball league, sweeping the neophytes, 25-18, 25-17, 25-19.
John Mark Ronquillo paced the Green Spikers with 11 points coming off seven attacks, three blocks, and an ace to propel Eco Oil-DLSU to its first victory in Group B.
"Well, first game, may first game jitters. So nag-aadjust pa din 'yung team especially 'yung mga rookies. At the end of the day panalo, so happy pero as much as possible [sana] ma-develop namin 'yung mga kulang pa," said La Salle mentor Arnold Laniog.
In the match which ended in just three sets, a total of 11 players from the Taft-based squad registered a point, and only three of them went scoreless.
CEU, meanwhile, was led by Carlo Villahermosa with five markers, while Robin Clemente finished with four in the loss.
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