New rules, higher hopes for the College of Saint Benilde Lady Blazers
Anton Roxas on Jan 12, 2016 09:59 AM
(Photo: Arvin Lim, ABS-CBN Sports)
For two straight years, the College of St. Benilde Lady Blazers got their hearts broken by what is known in the NCAA Women’s Volleyball tournament as the “Point System” rule.
The “Point System” rule is enforced by the league to break ties between teams at the end of the elimination round and the Final Four round-robin.
In 2014, CSB ended the Final Four round-robin tied with Arellano University and San Sebastian College-Recoletos who held identical 2-1 win-loss records. Due to this triple-tie, the “Point System” rule came into play and revealed that AU and SSC-R had a better “Points Ratio” than CSB. The “Points Ratio” is computed dividing the number of points scored by a team over the number of points scored against them. During this season, AU’s “Points Ratio” was 1.143 while UPHSD’s was 1.046. CSB’s “Points Ratio” was only at .915, causing them to fall short of reaching the Finals.
Last year, the Lady Blazers once again fell victim to the “Points System” rule as AU and SSC-R advanced to the Finals because of their higher “Points Ratio”.
The last time the Taft Avenue based squad reached the championship round of the annual tournament was back in 2009 where the Giza Yumang-led Lady Blazers lost in a thrilling three-match series against league powerhouse, San Sebastian College-Recoletos.
However, NCAA Season 91 presents a different kind of challenge for all teams as the Final Four round-robin format from the previous years was replaced by the regular Final Four format which is utilized in the UAAP. But, because SSC-R swept the elimination round, they earned an outright Finals berth with a thrice-to-beat advantage while the second, third, and fourth ranked teams play each other in a stepladder semifinals format.
With a 6-3 record, CSB finished fourth at the end of the elimination round and will face UPHSD, who finished third with 7 wins and 2 losses.
According to CSB Head Coach, Macky Cariňo, his team came into this season with high hopes and aspirations.
“We were aiming for a sweep. Kasi kami ang isa sa mga teams na matagal nang magkakasama.”
Although the Lady Blazers got off to a hot start, they experienced a reality check when they faced UPHSD last December 11, 2015 and lost in a tough five-set match.
“Pagkatapos ng 3-0 start namin, kampante na yung mga bata. Kaya nung laban namin sa Perpetual, na-shock sila. Nakuhanan kami ng set. Nagulat sila. Parang, ‘Hindi pa pala tayo gaano kalakas.’” shared Cariňo, who is in his third year with the team.
After their loss to UPSHD, CSB won three straight matches before losing in succession to AU and SSC-R.
Today, the Lady Blazers will try to exact revenge against UPHSD as they battle in a do-or-die match in the first phase of the Stepladder semifinals. The winner will advance to face the number two ranked AU.
Expect reigning Best Blocker Jeanette Panaga and 5th year open spiker Janine Navarro to lead the way for the Lady Blazers in the scoring department as they average a combined 32.5 points per match. Team Captain Djanel Cheng will try to orchestrate the CSB offense smoothly and extend her collegiate career.
NCAA Season 91 Volleyball will be aired live, January 12, 2016 on ABS-CBN Sports+Action starting with the Men’s Battle for 4th match between San Beda College and AU at 2:00 P.M. followed by what should be an exciting CSB and UPHSD match in the Women’s division. The matches will take place at The Arena in San Juan City.