Lady Blazers make history, capture first volleyball title
College of St. Benilde realized its dream of hoisting the championship trophy.
That Game 3 loss and a foiled third set win in Game 4 were nothing but short delays for the College of St. Benilde Lady Blazers.
But when Ranya Musa scored the final point of the fourth set from an off the block hit, the Lady Blazers have already sealed their place in history.
CSB shocked the thrice-to-beat San Sebastian Lady Stags by beating them thrice, punctuated by an emotional 25-22, 25-23, 22-25, 25-22 victory Thursday to claim the 91st NCAA women’s volleyball competition crown at The Arena in San Juan.
Denied by SSC-R in the 2009 Finals, the Lady Blazers finally dealt the Lady Stags a dose of their own medicine to extend the Recto-based squad’s title drought since winning it all in Season 86.
Janine Navarro scored 18 points in her last dance for the Taft-based squad. Musa had 17 markers while Finals Most Valuable Player and back-to-back Best Blocker winner Jeanette Panaga uncorked 16 points, seven coming off kill denials for CSB.
“Sobrang sarap kasi dumaan kami sa butas ng karayom. Ito ang pinakahihintay ng CSB community na mag-champion kami and nagawa na namin,” said CSB coach Macky Carino, steering the Lady Blazers to the crown in his third year.
“Hindi sumuko ang mga players ko kahit gaano kahirap para sa eskuwelahan nila,” he added.
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. SSC-R forced the decider with a 25-22, 25-19, 26-28, 25-23 Game 3 escape last Tuesday.
SSC-R refused to surrender in the third set even after getting buried in a 20-22 deficit. After an attack error by CSB’s Arianne Daguil, Nikka Dalisay and Jonah Corpuz completed the fight back of the Lady Stags with a pair of blocks each.
SSC-R coach Roger Gorayeb gambled in the fourth frame by putting Soltones on a leash. The Lady Stags’ gambit disrupted the Lady Blazers’ defense early but CSB won’t be denied of their date with history.
Two-time Most Valuable Player Grethcel Soltones had 19 points and Nikka Dalisay finished with 10 for SSC-R.
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