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MRT-Negros repeats over Sabong, finishes fifth in PNVF

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MRT-Negros came from behind to repeat over regional rival Sabong International Spikers (SIS), 20-25, 25-14, 20-25, 25-21, 15-5, to finish fifth in the Philippine National Volleyball Federation Champions League on Friday at the Aquamarine Recreational Center.

Skipper Christian Marcelino again showed the for MRT-Negros with 16 points and eight digs as the Negros Occidental-based squad’s campaign with two straight wins.

Rallying from a 1-2 set deficit to prevail, MRT-Negros reasserted its might over its opponents from Negros Oriental, which coach Ralph Savelleno’s side also won in five sets on opening day.

“It’s an honor to play in this kind of league. I’m very proud of my team. It’s a good experience for us,” said Savelleno, whose MRT-Negros is the youngest squad in the tournament with an average age of 21.

“We dedicate this game to our player who passed away last night (Thursday), Mike Beronio, our aspiring MRT-Negros player,” he added. A Colegio de San Agustin-Bacolod standout, Beronio died in a motorcycle accident in Bacolod City at the age of 24.

After sending the game to a decider, MRT-Negros imposed its will in the fifth set by racing to a 4-0 lead and put the match to bed with consecutive blocks for a commanding 14-4 advantage.

One of the veterans on the team, Marcelino showed that Negros Occidental athletes can compete against the best in the tournament.

“I feel so blessed to be part of this league. Having this kind of young players around me, it’s a privilege to share my knowledge to them,” said Marcelino, who led his team in scoring in the last two matches. “We proved that with MRT-Negros, we have top caliber players who can also represent the Philippines in the future.”

Young guns Leo Ordiales and Jian Matthew Salarzon each had 15 points, Jhun Kahulugan had two service aces to finish with 11 points. Gadpray Aresgado had 10 points, including three blocks, for MRT-Negros.

Jelord Talisayan led SIS with 16 points and nine digs while Charles David Absin contributed 13 points, including two blocks.

SIS, with a win to show, placed sixth ahead of Basilan Steel Spikers Amin-Anak Mindanao.