Holy Cross enters final 4; UM keeps hope alive

In Bracket A, Holy Cross of Davao College barged its way to the final four by beating Ateneo De Davao University in dominating fashion, 25 – 12, 25 – 16.
Banking on its superb set plays and defensive stops, UM took the remaining two sets after dropping the action-packed first frame to avoid a historic downfall after 16 years of dominance.
The win boosted UM’s bid to join the final four, at least through a triple-tie scenario which will be broken by “point system.”

The win came after UM’s upset loss to University of Immaculate Conception (UIC) in the opener, 23 – 25, 31 – 29, 27 – 25.
UM and DCSP shared the top spot with a 2-1 win-loss record.

UIC was battling Davao Doctors College as of press time yesterday. A win by the Bonifacio-based spikers will also give them a 2-1 record.

Spiker John Paul Saraga led the scoring onslaught for UM all throughout with his excellent booming spikes that hit roughly on all angles.
Trailing 9–10 in the final third set, the high-flying Saraga converted three straight hits against the blocker-less DCSP defense to take the lead 16 – 9 and never looked back.

DCSP tried to bounce back behind the heroics of AL-Kahim Camamaran and Kirk Buduan who hit two consecutive kills apiece, cutting down the deficit to 5, 23 – 19.
But JC Mascardo drilled a big kill from a broken play that went beyond two blockers to finish off DCSP’s scoring run and lift UM to a point away from the victory.
Camamara, who displayed remarkable spiking prowess, was single-handedly blocked by the much taller Saraga in the ensuing play to finish off the match.
DCSP had a chance to seal the victory in the second set but unforced errors one after the other hurt the Tigatto-based spikers who pulled out a huge surprise this year.
DCSP defeated UIC, 25 – 18, 25 – 27, 27 – 25.
Holy Cross stamped its class against Ateneo at all fronts en route to its third straight victory.
Ryan Aninon, Jun Rey Veloso and Paul Porras came out unstoppable at the net with their high-flying spikes that swallowed Ateneo’s blockers.
In the women’s contest, Holy Cross of Davao College bested San Pedro College, 22 – 25, 25 – 4, 25 – 12 to earn its ticket to the final four.
After dropping the opening set, Holy Cross came out strong in the second frame limiting SPC to only 4 points and wasted no time in the final set pulling a 25–12 victory.

Holy Cross coach Exequil Tomines said they will face Ateneo De Davao University in the cross-over final four on February 22. (Rico Biliran/MindaNews)