It ain’t over until it’s over.
Perpetual Help seemed faced with certain defeat after falling behind 5-11 in the deciding fifth set. But the Altas somehow found the will to come back from that six-point deficit in the final set to post a 25-22, 23-25, 29-27, 22-25, 17-15, victory and the men’s championship in the 91st NCAA volleyball competition at The Arena in San Juan City Tuesday, Jan. 26.
Given up for dead after trailing 5-11 in the final set, the Altas fought their way back to steal victory from the jaws of defeat and complete a 2-1 series victory.
Rey Taneo, Jr. and team captain Bonjomar Castel unloaded 18 hits apiece while Relan Taneo and Manuel Doliente scattered 11 points apiece but it was total team effort and pure guts and perseverance that helped the Altas take the come-from-behind win.
When Warren Lewis Catipay scored the championship-clinching ace, Perpetual Help and its fans went into frantic celebration as the Las Pinas-based school clinched their second-league best 11 men’s titles.
It was also redemption for the Altas, who failed to make it to the finals in the season eventually topped by the Generals.
“Nothing is impossible if you really want to win. I told them forget the score, forget everything and just play. Even if they are one point away, just continue fighting,” said Perpetual Help coach Sammy Acaylar on their comeback win.
“And I’m happy they showed the way we play Perpetual Help volleyball, with heart,” he added.
Interestingly, Perpetual Help beat EAC in all three of their finals meeting after the former won their first two meetings from 2014 and 2015.
Power-spiking Howard Mojica raked in most of the individual awards including his second straight MVP plum and had a series best 28 points.
But he didn’t have enough to lead the Generals to their second title.
Ironically, no Perpetual Help player won an individual award but wound up with the biggest trophy of them all–the championship.
Taneo, meanwhile, was adjudged the Finals MVP for his clutch plays the whole series.
“I know he’ll do big because his parents were also my players before,” said Acaylar of Taneo’s parents Rey, Sr. and Melanie.
For Acaylar, their 11th crown added to his eight titles in the juniors and two in the women’s side under his 25-year tutelage.
“I couldn’t do this without the help of Perpetual Help, which gave us full support,” said Acaylar.