Lady Blazers move closer to breakthrough title
Mark Escarlote on Jan 22, 2016 07:45 PM
College of St. Benilde buried the erstwhile thrice-to-beat San Sebastian to a twice-to-win disadvantage.
From a thrice-to-win disadvantage heading into the championship round, the College of St. Benilde Lady Blazers are now on the brink of making history.
Behind the troika of Jannine Navarro, Jeanette Panaga and Ranya Musa, the Lady Blazers downed the San Sebastian Lady Stags for the second straight game, 25-23, 21-25, 25-22, 25-16 to reverse their fortunes and move a win away from clinching their first-ever title in the 91st NCAA women’s volleyball Finals at the Arena in San Juan Friday.
CSB can finish off SSC-R and hoist the championship trophy on Tuesday. The decider, if necessary, is on January 29.
“Nagbaligtad na ba? Ito na, sabi ko nga sa mga bata kanina “It’s about time na gumawa tayo ng history. History na tayo ang makakauna na magkaroon ng tatlong beses na panalo sa championship.” Di ba kasi thrice-to-beat sila? And at the same time kami rin ang unang-unang, malay mo, na CSB na mag-champion sa indoor,” said CSB coach Macky Carino. “Ito na unti-unti ng nagkakatotoo.”
Navarro, Panaga and Musa scored 16 markers each while Chloe Santillan had eight points for the Lady Blazers, whose season just last week was hanging by a thread before CSB hurdled Perpetual Help and dethroned Arellano University in the knockout stepladder semifinals.
But Musa proved to be the biggest factor for CSB as the unheralded middle became a vital cog in the offense, contributing all her points from spikes.
After splitting the first two set, CSB broke away early in the third frame but saw their 16-8 lead evaporate as SSC-R mounted a rally to tie the frame at 21. The Lady Blazers scored four of the last five points of the set to take a 2-1 match lead.
It was all CSB in the fourth frame as the Lady Blazers built a 23-16 lead. Lady Blazers setter Djanel Cheng scored won a joust to push CSB at match point before Lady Stags top scorer Grethcel Soltones surrendered the game, smashing her hit straight to the net.
It was again a one-woman show for SSC-R, with only Soltones scoring in double figures with 27 points.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles