Lady Blazers out to steal Finals advantage from the Lady Stags
Mark Escarlote on Jan 22, 2016 06:13 AM
College of St. Benilde is out to steal the Finals advantage from thrice-to-beat San Sebastian College.
An inspired College of St. Benilde shoots for a second straight win against the thrice-to-beat San Sebastian College Lady Stags Friday in the 91st NCAA women’s volleyball championship series at The Arena in San Juan.
The Lady Blazers are brimming with confidence after a rousing victory in the series opener and are looking to keep their momentum going when they face the Lady Stags anew at 4:00 p.m.
The game will air live on ABS-CBN Sports+Action Channel 23 and ABS-CBN Sports+Action HD Channel 166 and via livestream at sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/ncaa.
Taking advantage of their edge in height, CSB shocked SSC-R last Tuesday as the Lady Blazers dealt the Lady Stags their first loss of the season, 24-26, 25-21, 25-19, 25-13, and turned the championship showdown into a virtual best-of-three series.
Jeanette Panaga led the Taft-based squad with 23 points including eight of the Lady Blazer’s 10 kill blocks that gave SSC-R hitters, especially reigning Most Valuable Player Grethcel Soltones, a hard time penetrating their defensive wall. Janine Navarro and Ranya Musa ae also expected to deliver on offense with setter Djanel Cheng orchestrating their attacks while CSB will rely on libero Melanie Torres and comely defense specialist Chloe Santillan to man the floor.
Head coach Macky Carino pointed out the importance of Game 2 and for his team to maintain their mindset and momentum.
“Itong Game 2 namin importanteng-importante. Kung gaano ka-importante (ang Game 1) para maging tied lang kami sa (series) standing, mas importante ‘to,” he said.
“Kasi kung sinong mananalo dito ‘yun na ang may advantage para mag-champion e,” he added. “So kailangan talaga na kung ano ang performance namin sa Game 1 hindi talaga kami dapat magpabaya. Ako kasi nakikita ko sa team ko na mas gusto naming manalo. Mas gusto naming mag-champion.”
Soltones was able to log in 27 points but the contribution of her teammates – a combined 24 points – was the source of concern for SSC-R mentor Roger Gorayeb.
“Grethcel could only do so much. Hindi niya kaya na mag-isa lang siya,” said Gorayeb, who gave the Lady Stags 22 of their 23 overall crowns.
Still, Gorayeb remains positive about their chance of ending their six-year title drought.
“We have to win the next game. Kasi if we win the next game, lamang na ulit kami. Importanteng-importante ang Game 2. Malaki ang chance namin (na mag-champion) kapag nanalo kami (sa Game 2),” he said. “Huwag naman sanang ipahintulot na matalo kami sa Friday, may chance pa naman kami sa Tuesday pero difficult na.”
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