Second seed Arellano University stunned top pick University of Perpetual Help System Dalta via a thrilling 12-25, 25-21, 19-25, 25-24, 15-9 decision to take the series opener in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 93 men’s volleyball tournament on Friday at The Arena in San Juan City.
Former University of the Philippines player Christian Dela Paz fires 24 points highlighted by 23 attacks to power the Chiefs to a 1-0 series lead in the best-of-three championship showdown against the Altas.
Christian Segovia, Joseph Cabillan and Roi Domingo added nine markers each while setter Edmark Meneses had 47 excellent sets for the Chiefs, who also dethroned College of Saint Benilde in the stepladder semifinals.
Arellano was relentless in the attack line, scoring 55 kills including a booming cross-court hit from season’s Second Best Outside Spiker awardee Dela Paz, in the fifth frame that sealed the win for the Chiefs.
Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player Joebert Almodiel displayed an all-around game with 18 hits and 22 receptions for the Altas.
Ridzuan Muhali added 14 points, John Patrick Ramos chipped in 13 and Rey Taneo contributed 12 for Perpetual Help.
Game 2 will be played on Monday.
In juniors, Colegio de San Juan de Letran outlasted Emilio Aguinaldo College, 25-23, 28-30, 25-23, 25-23, in the Final Four rubber match to claim the last finals berth.
John Paulo Lorenzo and Mark Omega combined for 27 points for the Squires.
Letran will be battling defending champion and four-peat seeking Perpetual Help in the best-of-three championship series beginning on Monday.