Repeat-seeking Arellano University learned a valuable lesson in Game 1 of the 93rd NCAA women’s volleyball competition Finals on Friday.
San Beda University will not hand them the crown on a silver platter.
Heading into the best-of-three championship series, many thought that the Lady Chiefs would just cruise to its third title in four years especially after the way Arellano U dominated the Lady Red Spikers in straight sets in the elimination round.
However, it was a different story in Game 1 of the Finals.
Arellano U saw its two-set lead erased by a gritty and determined team, which landed a Finals spot for the first time in the league, and found San Beda ready to engage in the dogfight midway in the deciding set.
The Lady Chiefs relied on their championship experience and grizzled veterans to pull them through in a 25-15, 25-16, 15-25, 22-25, 15-6, win to draw first blood in the Finals at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
“Napakalaking leksyon talaga, syempre kung gusto mong manalo, kailangan ‘wag mo nang pahirapan ang sarili mo kung kaya mo naman siyang kunin ng mabilis nang hindi ka na nagmamadali,” said Arellano U coach Obet Javier, who was livid with his wards squandering a big match lead.
San Beda went into the fifth set filled with confidence after taking the third and fourth frames.
Arellano U got into a seesaw battle before finally finding their form to break a 6-6 lead with a closing 9-0 run powered by veterans Regine Arocha, Mary Anne Esguerra and Jovielyn Prado. Rookie-transferee Sarah Verutiao sealed the win with a heady drop towards an unmarked spot in the Lady Spikers’ front row.
“Pinakita lang nila na talagang ‘yung pagiging champion talaga, ‘yung pusong gustong manalo,” said Javier, who steered Arellano to its first two titles in Season 90 and 92. “So ‘yun naman ang hinahanap ko sa team ko eh na ‘wag sanang magsawa sa pagiging panalo.”
Game 2 of the Finals is o Monday.
“So ‘yung nagyari kanina tingin ko mas magigising talaga ang team na hindi na ‘to dapat mangyari sa Game Two,” he said.
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