Lady Blazers shock, dethrone Lady Chiefs for Finals slot

Mark Escarlote on Jan 15, 2016 07:13 PM
Lady Blazers shock, dethrone Lady Chiefs for Finals slot
College of St. Benilde forges a championship showdown with thrice-to-beat San Sebastian.

The College of St. Benilde dethroned the Arellano University Lady Chiefs in a quick, one-sided match that even Lady Blazers coach Macky Carino didn’t expect.

Carino and her girls turned a projected wire-to-wire knockout stepladder semifinals Friday into a rout, shocking last year’s titlist with a 25-20, 25-22, 25-23 win to set up a 91st NCAA women’s volleyball championship showdown with the undefeated and thrice-to-beat San Sebastian Lady Stags.        

“Hindi ko (in-expect na straight sets) kasi alam ko lalaban ang Arellano. Alam ko ibibigay din nila ang best nila sa araw na ‘to,” said the third year coach, whose team eliminated Perpetual Help at the start of the stepladder semis last Tuesday.

“Alam ko na mananalo ako. Kompiyansa ako na mananalo ako pero hindi ganoon kadali na tatlong set lang. At least maganda ang performance ng team ko,” added Carino, who steered his team to a third championship head-to-head with the Lady Stags after San Sebastian denied CSB the title in Seasons 84 and 85.   

Game One of the Finals is on Tuesday.

The Lady Blazers victory was so surprising that even some of the Lady Blazers were slow to react and celebrate when Jeanette Panaga scored on a drop shot that sealed the one-hour, 20-minute match.   

“Kasi siyempre hindi mo in-expect na ganoon kadali ang panalo namin,” he said. “Siguro na-overwhelm lang sila sa performance naming. Baka mamaya magsi-sink in na ‘yan.”

Panaga was unstoppable with 21 points in a balanced show of her scoring prowess as she nailed nine attacks with six kill blocks and six service aces for the Taft-based squad.

Janine Navarro added 11 markers for CSB, which received 27 points off Arellano’s errors.

The Lady Chiefs clawed back from a 15-21 deficit in the third set to close in at the Lady Blazers, 22-23. An attack error by Arellano’s Angelica Sawali pushed CSB at match point but Ranya Musa overcooked her service before Panaga’s championship seat-clincher.

Christine Joy Rosario and Jovielyn Prado led Arellano with 13 markers each while Danna Henson had 10. Shirley Salamagos was shackled to only six markers for the Lady Chiefs, who bagged the crown last season in Finals sweep over SSC-R.



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