CSB out to spoil SSC-R’s outright Final seat bid

Mark Escarlote on Jan 09, 2016 08:00 PM
CSB out to spoil SSC-R’s outright Final seat bid
College of St. Benilde and San Sebastian clash in a crucial match to determine the semifinals format.

The format of the 91st NCAA women’s volleyball semifinals will be decided on Sunday when the undefeated San Sebastian Lady Stags take on an upset-conscious College of St. Benilde Lady Blazers at The Arena in San Juan.

A win by the Lady Stags, unbeaten in eight games, will give SSC-R an outright championship berth with a thrice-to-beat advantage.

In this scenario, defending champion Arellano University will face in a knockout match for the last Final berth the winner between CSB and Perpetual Help in a stepladder format.  

But the Lady Blazers want to write a different story.

Coming off a painful five-set loss against the Lady Chiefs Friday, CSB is determined to deny the Lady Stags an easy Finals entry.

“Wala naman sino sa aming mga teams dito sa NCAA na gustong umabot na lang talaga kaagad sa championship (ang kalaban),” said Lady Blazers coach Michael Carino. “Gusto talaga namin na kumabaga lahat dapat paghirapan.”            

The Taft-based squad, which is coming off a 20-25, 25-22, 30-28, 18-25, 17-19 defeat against AU, is tied with Perpetual Help in third to fourth spot with 6-2 win-loss record.

If the Lady Blazers can pull off a major upset, the league will proceed with the usual Final Four format.

But it will also trigger more scenarios, making the final elimination game playdate crucial for all those who qualified in the semis.

In case SSC-R loses, it will tie Arellano at 8-1 record. Both teams will have a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four but will have to go into a playoff to determine who will occupy the no. 1 squad.

A CSB victory coupled by Perpetual’s win over the listless Letran Lady Knights (0-8) will also setup a playoff between the Lady Blazers and the Lady Altas to determine their Final Four placing.

The Lady Stags don’t want to complicate things and are focused in completing the elims sweep.

“Siyempre kami gusto namin makarating na sa Finals,” said SSC-R coach Roger Gorayeb. “Kumbaga makakapuhunan na kami kung makaka-sweep kami.”

Reigning Most Valuable Player Grethcel Soltones, Nikka Dalisay and Katherine Villegas will spearhead SSC-R’s attacks against the taller CSB crew led by Jeannette Panaga, Jannine Navarro and Arriane Daguil.

“Malakas ‘yung Benilde and ‘yung advantage nila ay ‘yung height nila,” Soltones said. “Pero mas mabilis naman po kami sa kanila.”

Start of the semis or playoff is on Tuesday and will be aired live in ABS-CBN Sports+Action Channel 23 and ABS-CBN Sports+Action HD Channel 166 while those on the go can still watch and be updated via livestream at sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/ncaa.




Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  

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