National U Eyes Share Of Lead Vs City Lions

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Games today (Saturday)
2:30 p.m. – Sta. Rosa vs Sta. Elena
5:30 p.m. – Army vs Ateneo

Unbeaten National U-Sta. Elena isn’t taking any chances as it goes up against a surging Sta. Rosa side, looking for a third straight victory and a share of the lead with powerhouse Cignal in the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference at Paco Arena in Manila today (Saturday).

NU’s Nico Almendras

A five-set escape over the Navy Sealions last Tuesday kept the Nationals’ campaign going with Congo’s Obed Mukaba raring to come up with a big follow-up to his sterling 17-point performance the last time out he spiked with 10 kill blocks.

The crisp-hitting Nico Almendras, along with Michaelo Buddin, Kennry Malinis and Gerard Diao, are also eager and ready to step up their respective games in their 2:30 p.m. encounter with the Lions, who snapped a two-game skid with a four-set victory over a luck-less Ateneo-Fudgee Barr side, also last Tuesday.

Focus, however, will be on the young Lion Alex Disquitado and how he would deliver against the Nationals.

“I’m really impressed with Disquitado. We have to check him at all times. On another note, he will look good wearing NU colors,” said NU-Sta. Elena head coach Dante Alinsunurin.

The Eagles and the Army-Katinko Troopers, meanwhile, clash at 5:30 p.m. in a duel of winless teams with the victor keeping their slim semis hopes alive and the loser virtually bowing out of contention.

The top four in the seven-team field will advance to the next phase after the single round elims.

Like in their four-set loss to the Nationals last Sept. 1, the Troopers took the opening set against the Sealions last Thursday but dropped the next three to join the Eagles at 0-3.

But the Eagles are also coming out all-fired up for the elusive win although they would need to come up with a strong finishing kick to break their spell.

Pitted against the Nationals, the Lions hope to make the most of their recent victory in terms of playing with more confidence and cohesion with Disquitado and Kris Hernandez expected to lead the young squad’s attack along with Sean Labrador, Chris Hernandez, and Dave Lardizabal.

The game will also be a reunion of sorts for Sta. Rosa head coach Edu Lirio and his former high school wards Almendras and Joshua Retamar.

“For NU, good luck to my sons Joshua Retamar and NIco Almendras. But for now, ‘Daddy Edu’ will be with the kids now and we won’t back down,” said Lirio.

Matches are aired on One Sports and One Sports+ and the league’s official website http://spikersturf.ph/live.

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