IT WAS a Friday to remember for the University of Perpetual Help in NCAA volleyball.
The Junior Altas left something for the history books as they accomplished a ‘five-peat’ while their senior counterparts completed a repeat title triumph in a double celebration as the school reaped the fruits of a rich, ambitious volleyball program.
The school was actually gunning for a golden treble as its women’s squad was playing Arellano University at presstime in Game 2 of their best-of-three series.
The Junior Altas swept Letran, 25-19, 30-28, 25-17 in Game 2 of their title series to complete a perfect Season 94 while the Senior Altas downed a never-say-die College of Saint Benilde squad to capture the crown, 23-25, 25-17, 25-17, 25-23 at The Arena in San Juan City.
Noel Kampton showed the way and provided the killer blows for the Junior Altas in the third set, where he led the pullaway from 17-all, scoring five of the last eight points to complete the straight-sets win and the school’s first ‘five-peat’ in the tourney.
“Yang batang yan kasi yung puso niyan talagang gustong manalo talaga,” said Perpetual Help head coach Sandy Rieta on Kampton. “Kaya talagang ayaw niya magkamali, pag nagkamali siya nagagalit siya sa sarili niya pero magaling talaga yung bata, malakas.”
Kampton finished with 21 points off 19 kills including five digs. Skipper Kirth Patrick Rosos and Hero Austria were also instrumental with 10 points each as well as Sherwin Caritativo adding nine markers, while setter Christian Hidalgo scattered 21 excellent sets.
Sharing the spotlight on this momentous afternoon was Joebert Almodiel who provided the championship points for the Altas to beat the Blazers.
Holding a 2-1 match advantage and an 18-7 spread in the fourth set, the Altas flirted with disaster as the Blazers unloaded a 14-4 run to cut down Perpetual Help’s lead to just one, 22-21, in a neck-and-neck fourth set in Game Two of the best-of-three Finals.
Setter Gabriel Casana gave Perpetual Help a 23-21 breather with a smart dump but he committed a service error letting St. Benilde within one.
But Almodiel, who won his second Most Valuable Player in just his sophomore year, delivered the championship-clinching points, outsmarting his blocker for match point, 24-22, before Roniey Adviento rescued a point for Benilde but Almodiel nailed the hit that completed the Altas’ 11-game sweep of Season 94.
Almodiel was also named as Finals MVP unleashing 19 points off 17 kills. Ridzuan Muhali also had 19 hits including 11 digs.
Graduating spiker Hero Austria was crowned as Finals MVP, finishing with 10 points including 13 excellent receptions in his last game for the Junior Altas.
This is the first time for Rieta and the Junior Altas to complete an 11-0 sweep in their five straight years ruling the Juniors’ division.
“Nasunod yung game plan namin at saka yung eagerness ng mga bata na talagang manalo,” said Rieta on his wards who swept the nine-game elimination and showed no signs of rust after a three-week layoff not losing a single set in the Finals.
“Yung nakaraang four-peat champion namin hindi kami nakasweep So bago magstart yung season sinabi ko sa mga bata ‘pwede ba regalo niyo sa akin itong season? Sweepin naman natin para,’” he added.
Season 94 Season MVP Christian Dela Cruz had 10 points and 14 excellent receptions for Letran only to be swept by the ‘five-peat’ champs settling for silver medal.