MARK Calado pushed Team Dasmariñas to a heart-racing 25-20, 30-28, 20-25, 21-25, 18-16 win over the VNS Manileño Spikers to set up a championship showdown with Go for Gold-Air Force in the Philippine National Volleyball Federation Champions League for men on Dec. 3, 2021 at the Aquamarine Recreational Center in Lipa, Batangas.

With the game going down the wire, the Monarchs turned to Calado, who scored all but one of his 28 points from spikes as they withstood the Manileño Spikers’ fightback from two sets down to emerge victorious in the semifinal.

Madzlan Gampong had three blocks for a 17-point effort while Ronniel Rosales chipped in 13 points, including for the Monarchs.

Aside from earning the distinction as the first-ever Champions League winners, the champions will also become the Philippines representative to the Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship in Urmia, Iran on May 15-22, 2022.

The Monarchs simply held their composure after the Manileño Spikers rallied back from two sets down to force a fifth set.

“I told my teammates to stay calm. I simply wanted to win,” said Calado, who scored back-to-back kills to put the Monarchs at match-point.

Setter Cian Silang then fired in a service ace to ice the game for the Monarchs.

“We lost our composure in the third and fourth set. I told them before the fifth set we should not end our journey here. We should keep our focus on our goal,” said skipper Jayvee Sumagaysay, who had three service aces.

“I told my teammates that even without coach (Norman), he is not the one who is playing. He is simply our guide. We are the ones who are performing inside the court. As a team captain, I told them to stay together,” he said.

“I don’t think about it, because in the first place, volleyball is a team sport. For me, we have the edge because we are one,” added Sumagaysay on facing the Aguilas, some of them are his former teammates in the national team.

Benedict San Andres, Kevin Montemayor, and Benjaylo Labide had 16 points apiece for the Manileño Spikers.