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NCAA volleyball: Altas hope to stay in ‘game shape’ with tuneup matches

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University of Perpetual Help System DALTA mentor Sammy Acaylar talks to his players following a training session at the school's gym Monday in Las Pinas City. (Waylon Galvez)

University of Perpetual Help System DALTA mentor Sammy Acaylar talks to his players following a training session at the school’s gym Monday in Las Pinas City. (Waylon Galvez)

By Waylon Galvez

University of Perpetual Help System DALTA mentor Sammy Acaylar was in usual elements giving instructions to players as the Altas wrap up their drills during practice at the school gym in Las Piñas City.

For now, all they can do is train and prepare for the Finals of NCAA Season 95 volleyball.

The team earned an automatic slot in the best-of-three championship series after sweeping the elimination round with a 9-0 record but has since been on training as the league’s Management Committee halted all games due to the coronavirus outbreak last Feb. 13.

“Back to basic with our training, from physical conditioning and strengthening,” Acaylar said.

The league, through its MANCOM chaired by Peter Cayco of Arellano University, is eyeing a March 16 target for the resumption of all games including volleyball to be approved this week by the Policy Board.

Regardless, the Altas have been following a program Acaylar arranged knowing that not doing anything or just practicing would affect their performance come finals time.

“Actually nag-worry din ako kasi mahaba yung suspension, pero dahil nga may programa akong ginawa, tingin ko magiging in game shape pa din ang team maski na matagal walang games. Ang mahirap yun ma-tengga kami ng matagal,” said Acaylar.

The team will face the winner in the stepladder playoffs, which will either be the Arellano University Chiefs, Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals or the College of St. Benilde Blazers, in a three-game showdown.

As part of the program during the league break, Acaylar said the Altas would be battling teams from the collegiate and pro ranks.

Perpetual Help coach Sammy Acaylar (Altas Images)

Perpetual Help coach Sammy Acaylar (Altas Images)

Starting this weekend, they will face the Tamaraws of Far Eastern University, followed by an encounter against the Navy, and then the CIGNAL TV Spikers and the Falcons of Adamson University.

“I understand naman na iba din talaga yung game sa puro ensayo lang e. Kaya talagang ginawan ko sila ng programa na physical conditioning, then training sa set plays, tapos tuneup games,” said Acaylar.

Under the veteran mentor, the Altas are hoping to add the 2020 title to their championships in 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2019.

Leading the Altas this season is team captain Ronniel ‘Buro’ Rosales, as well as leading MVP contender Loiue Ramirez, with Kennry Malinis, Hero Austria, ace setter EJ Casaña, liberos Jeric Atentar and Philip Pepito and back-ups JC Enarciso, Ridzuan Muhali, KC Andrade, JR Baggayan, Aljoe Sereño Awie Abdulla and Joshua Zereño.

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