CSB, Perpetual clash in do-or-die stepladder semis opener
Mark Escarlote on Jan 11, 2016 12:58 PM
Only the hungrier team will survive in a do-or-die stepladder semifinals match.
Expect an all-out war when the Perpetual Help Lady Altas and the College of St. Benilde Lady Blazers collide in a no-tomorrow battle at the start of the stepladder semifinals of the 91st NCAA women’s volleyball competition at The Arena in San Juan on Tuesday.
There is just no room for any error this time for either team as the loser will have to kiss its season goodbye and serve as an unwilling spectator.
“Mahirap ang magiging laban kumbaga hindi ka na pwedeng kumurap dito,” said CSB coach Michael Carino.
Opening serve is at 4:00 p.m. and will be aired live on ABS-CBN Sports+Action Channel 23 and ABS-CBN Sports+Action HD Channel 166 while those on the go can still catch the thrill via livestream at sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/ncaa.
The winner of the match will set up another do-or-die game against the defending champion Arellano University Lady Chiefs for the right to challenge the unbeaten and thrice-to-beat armed San Sebastian College Lady Stags in the championship round.
The Lady Altas finished the eliminations with 7-2 win-loss record at third place behind the Lady Chiefs (8-1) while the Lady Blazers had a 6-3 outing.
CSB is coming off a two-game losing slump to close its elims campaign including a crucial 20-25, 25-22, 17-25, 18-25, defeat last Sunday against the Lady Stags that gave SSC-R an outright slot in the Finals.
Perpetual on the other hand is riding the crest of its five-game winning streak including a five-set escape against the Lady Blazers last December 11.
“Hindi talaga pwedeng balewalain ang CSB kasi malakas sila and very tall,” said Perpetual Help coach Sammy Acaylar. “We just have to be focused and no room for error na talaga kasi knockout, knockout ang semis.”
Indeed it won’t be an easy task for CSB and Perpetual.
The last time the two squads met, Perpetual barely escaped with the win as the Lady Altas needed a second wind to withstand the Lady Blazers’ comeback attempt to take the 14-25, 25-23, 25-21, 21-25, 16-14 victory.
Janine Navarro, Jeanette Panaga, Ranya Musa, setter Djanel Cheng and Arianne Daguil need to step up big time against Perpetual’s Jamela Suyat, Lourdes Clemente, skipper Ana Diocareza and Cindy Imbo.
Meanwhile, the San Beda Red Lions and Arellano University Chiefs clash in a playoff for the last men’s Final Four spot at 2:00 p.m. which will also air live.
The Red Lions and Chiefs closed the elims with identical 5-4 records to force a rubbermatch that will determine who will sit in the no. 4 spot that will take on the top seed team, which will be disputed by defending champion Emilio Aguinaldo College and Perpetual Help in non-televised playoff Tuesday morning.
Both EAC and Perpetual will enjoy a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four. The no. 2 squad after the playoff faces the third seed CSB Blazers in the semis.
In the juniors division, the Brigadiers and Junior Altas, both with 6-1 card after the elims, figure in a playoff for the top seeding.
The winner will pair with the survivor between SSC-R and Lyceum of the Philippines University in the semis. The EAC-Perpetual playoff loser will be challenged by no. 3 seed AU in the Final Four.
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