Lionesses secure semis spot playoff
Mark Escarlote on Jan 20, 2017 01:53 PM
San Beda College survived a 5-set challenge from Mapua to secure at least a playoff for a semis spot.
San Beda College played with fire and almost got itself burned but the Lionesses regrouped just in time to turn back the feisty Mapua Lady Cardinals, 25-16, 25-15, 22-25, 20-25, 15-9, Friday to secure at least a playoff for a semis berth in the 92nd NCAA women’s volleyball tournament.
The Lionesses dodged an upset at The Arena in San Juan to improve to 6-3 win-loss record which equaled the college’s best finish back in 2014 when San Beda was then led by Frances Molina and Janine Marciano.
Francesca Racraquin, who suffered muscle spasms on her left abdomen after the game, finished with 16 points while Satrianni Espiritu had 13 for the Mendiola-based squad.
“Masaya kami nakapasok kami sa playoff pero mas masaya kami kung nasa Final Four na kami,” said SBC head coach Nemesio Gavino.
The mentor fielded his second stringers in the third set pulling some of his starters with San Beda ahead in the match 2-0. But the Lady Cardinals, hungry for a taste of victory, took advantage of the Lionesses’ gamble with Patricia Pena, Dianne Latayan and Danielle Ramilo leading the way to steal the third frame.
Smelling blood, Mapua raced to a 21-17 lead in the fourth set and never looked back to force a decider.
San Beda with their season on the line fought back to build an 8-3 lead only to see Mapua close the gap, 11-9, in the fifth set. Racraquin sparked the Lionesses closing rally with an off the block kill to finish off the Lady Cardinals, who closed their season without a win.
“Gusto ko rin kasi sana bigyan ang second stringers ko ng kompiyansa kasi hindi naman pwedeng sa first six lang umasa ang team ko eh. Tulad nga nu’ng nangyari kay Cesca kailangan talagang ilabas kasi pagod na,” said Gavino.
“Nu’ng dumating ang fifth set sinabi ko sa kanila na kalimutan na ang lahat ng set mag-focus na lang sa last set para mawala lahat ng frustrations kasi nakatanbla sila eh,” he added.
Pena had 13 points while Latayan and Ramilo each had 10 markers for the Intramuros-based squad.
In men’s play, San Beda completed the Final Four roster by eliminating Mapua, 22-25, 25-23, 25-13, 25-13.
The Red Lions finished the elims with a 7-2 card and secured at least a playoff for a Final Four twice-to-beat advantage, while sending the Cardinals packing with a 5-4 mark.
SBC joined College of St. Benilde (7-1), Arellano University (6-2) and defending champion Perpetual Help (6-1), who is playing also ran Jose Rizal University as of posting time, in the Final Four.
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