Lady Blazers set sights on first NCAA volleyball title
Mark Escarlote on Jan 25, 2016 05:29 PM
College of St. Benilde seeks to finish off San Sebastian College to hoist its first indoor volleyball title.
The College of St. Benilde Lady Blazers are out to write history Tuesday in Game 3 of the 91st NCAA women’s volleyball championship against San Sebastian College.
From a thrice-to-win disadvantage entering the Finals, the Lady Blazers are now a victory away from clinching the Taft-based school’s first-ever indoor volleyball title.
CSB shoots for the jugular in the 4:00 p.m. match at The Arena in SAn Juan that 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.
Two weeks ago, the Lady Blazers were on the brink of elimination as they faced Perpetual Help and former champion Arellano University in consecutive knockout matches in the stepladder semifinals for the right to face the Lady Stags, who swept the 9-game elims to earn an outright championship round spot, in the Finals.
Behind the troika of Jannine Navarro, Jeanette Panaga and Ranya Musa, the Lady Blazers shocked SSC-R in the series opener, 24-26, 25-21, 25-19, 25-13, before turning the tables around in Game 2 as they buried the Lady Stags, 25-23, 21-25, 25-22, last Friday for a virtual twice-to-beat advantage.
Game 4, if necessary, is on Friday but coach Macky Carino doesn’t want to take chances. He wants to end the series Tuesday and give CSB its first title since joining the league in 1998.
“Ngayon nasa amin na ang advantage. Mahirap sa mga bata na tumapos ng game pero kung ano ang mind-setting naming sa first two games namin, ganoon din kami sa Tuesday,” he said. “Kailangan mas lalong magiging mas focus and controlled sa ginagawa.”
After cruising in the elims, SSC-R has its back against the wall.
Reigning Most Valuable Player Grethcel Soltones is the lone bright spot for the Roger Gorayeb-mentored team. But the national team mainstay, who scored a game-high 27 points in Game 2, could only do so much.
“Hindi pwedeng si Grethcel lang. Team ito e, hindi kaya ng iisang tao lang ang kabila,” said the Lady Stags coach.
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