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John San Andres

VNS Manileño Spikers clinch semis seat with win over Basilan in Champions League

The VNS Manileño Spikers fashioned out a 25-17, 25-22, 25-23 victory over the Basilan Steel Spikers Amin-Anak Mindanao to nab the remaining semifinals seat in Pool A of the Philippine National Volleyball Federation Champions League for men on Wednesday at the Aquamarine Recreational Center in Lipa City, Batangas.

VNS ended up with an even 1-1 won-lost card while sending Basilan to the classification round after going winless in pool play.

Coach Ralph Ocampo was satisfied with the way the Manileño Spikers bounced back from their loss to the Aguilas where they pushed their fancied foes to the distance.

“I told them, it’s a do-or-die game. Most of my players are young, 20 to 21 years old, so the pressure is there especially against the veterans,” Ocampo said. “I told them, we need to stick to our system in our defense and attack. The results will follow if we do things right.”

VNS will face Pool B winner Team Dasmariñas for a spot in the championship match on Friday afternoon.

The Manileño Spikers drew a solid all-around game from John Benedict San Andres, the 21-year old-Mapua standout, who came through with 13 points, 13 receptions, and six digs.

Rwenzmel Taguibolos also delivered three of the Manileño Spikers’ six blocks to finish with 10 points

Setter Geuel Asia nailed a service ace to put VNS at match-point, 24-22.

Razzel Palisoc, who had 12 points and six digs, kept the Steel Spikers alive, but a service error from their side ended their hopes of advancing to the knockout stage of the tournament.

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