Sta. Elena beats Troopers, nails last semis seat

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Sta. Elena Construction survived a strong Army challenge in the third set and hacked out a 25-17, 25-19, 29-27 victory on Wednesday to clinch the fourth and last semifinals berth in the men’s division of the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.

League-leading scorer Berlin Paglinawan unloaded a match-best 20 hits, including 18 on kills, to help power the Wrecking Balls past the Troopers and into a Final Four duel with the top seeded Cignal TV HD Spikers.

Sta. Elena romped past Café Lupe at the close of the elims to finish tied for fourth with Army at 4-3, forcing a sudden death for the last semis seat.

The other semis pairing pits No. 2 Mega Builders against third seed defending champion Air Force.


The Final Four will be held Saturday alongside the explosive semis matches in the women’s side of the mid-season conference of the league organized by Sports Vision and backed by Mikasa and Asics.

Top seed and unbeaten Creamline faces Reinforced Conference runner-up BaliPure while defending champion Pocari Sweat, which also ruled the season-opening tournament, battles third seed Hair Fairy Air Force.

Isaah Arda, Paolo Publico and Israel Encina each chipped in 10 points for the Wrecking Balls, who also beat the Troopers, 25-15, 22-25, 25-21, 25-23, in their elims face-off last July 16.

This time, the Wrecking Balls made sure the match wouldn’t extend to another set.

“The boys were just determined to get the win,” said Sta. Elena coach Arnold Laniog.

Paglinawan delivered the clutch hits in the third set when the Troopers hung tough on deuce points before losing steam in the end.

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