Instituto crowned 1st V-League men’s champs
Instituto crowned 1st V-League men’s champs
Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - November 16, 2014 - 6:51pm

MANILA, Philippines – Instituto Estetico Manila showed nerves of steel as it outlasted a gritty Systema Tooth & Gum Care in a pulsating 25-21, 24-26, 25-22, 14-25, 15-12 victory Sunday to emerge the first Shakey's V-League men's champion at The Arena in San Juan City.

Rudy Gatdula rammed through the two-man block of Rocky Honrade and Chris Macasaet to seal the deal and complete the Volley Masters' 2-1 series win in this men's event being done for the first time in the 11-year history of this annual tournament sponsored by Shakey's Pizza.

It was pandemonium from there as Instituto players dived onto the court in celebration of their triumphant effort.

"It feels good to help write history as being the first men's champion of the Shakey's V-League," said an ecstatic Instituto coach Ernesto Balubar in Filipino.

Jeffrey Jimenez fired a team-high 16 hits including 15 on spikes while Karl Ian dela Calzada and Gatdula scattered 14 and 10, respectively.

It was Jimenez, however, who came out the biggest winner of all as he completed a golden treble by not only helping his team win the championship but also bagging the conference and finals MVP trophy.

"It's an honor to win these trophies and the championship for my team," said Jimenez, who played college ball for PATTS, an aeronautic school.

Chris Macasaet played like a man-possessed as he unleashed a match-best 25 he highlighted with 23 kills.

It was the power-spiking Macasaet who willed the Active Smashers to snaring the fourth set and forging the deciding set.

But Instituto went on attack mode early, erecting leads as big as five twice, the last at 11-6 when Jimenez, dela Calzada and Gatdula alternated in that making that run possible.

And then Macasaet and the emotional Rocky Honrade teamed up to carry Systema back as the two sliced their deficit to just two 12-14 before Gatdula quashed their hopes with that powerful spike that went through the blockers.

"I just told the players to jump the gun on them on the fifth set," said Balubar, who is a Calculus teacher on the side at Quezon City High School.

It didn't help that Systema missed its inspirational leader Richard Gomez, who is in Phuket, Thailand as the chief of mission of the Phl team competing in the Asian Beach Games.

Earlier, Far Eastern University downed Rizal Technological University, 25-22, 20-25, 16-25, 28-26, 15-13, to wrap their series, 2-1, and clinch third place.

Greg Dolor and Joel Cayabyab served as the Tams' one-two punch after firing 21 and 20 hits, respectively, and combining for a whopping 33 kills.

"We just want to get some confidence here in the Shakey's V-League that we hope to use in our UAAP campaign," said FEU coach Florentino "Kit" Santos.

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