Lady Chiefs eye Finals return, Lady Blazers look to survive
Mark Escarlote on Feb 03, 2017 09:59 AM
College of St. Benilde and Arellano University dispute the right to face thrice-to-beat San Sebastian College in the Finals.
Fueled by bad blood after getting dethroned early last season, Arellano University gets a shot at exacting revenge on the defending champion College of St. Benilde Lady Blazers Friday in the last phase of the stepladder semifinals in the 92nd NCAA women’s volleyball competition at The Arena in San Juan.
Armed with a twice-to-beat advantage, the Lady Chiefs look to drag the Lady Blazers of the throne in the scheduled 3:30 p.m. match that will air live over ABS-CBN S+A and via livestream on sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/ncaa.
Season 90 champion Arellano is riding the crest of an eight-game winning streak to land at the no. 2 spot with a semis incentive, this means the Legarda-based squad only has to win once to advance in the Finals and face the unbeaten and thrice-to-beat San Sebastian College.
But standing on their way is CSB, which survived the first semis stepladder knockout match against San Beda College last Tuesday, 25-22, 25-20, 25-15.
“Ang goal naming sa elimination (twice-to-beat advantage) nakuha namin pero itong laban na ang crucial,” said Arellano coach Obet Javier, who is banking on main gunners Jovielyn Prado, Rialen Sante and Regine Arocha. “Kailangan muna naming isipin ang Benilde muna. Dapat hindi kami magkamali sa game namin sa Benilde.”
The Lady Chiefs also landed at the no. 2 spot after the elims last season but had no semis advantage then and were knocked out by the Lady Blazers, who went on to win its breakthrough title via an upset against the thrice-to-beat Lady Stags in four games.
Arellano defeated CSB, 25-21, 25-21, 25-21 in their rematch in the elimination round but Lady Blazers coach Macky Carino is confident that they can pull off another miracle only if they work hard enough.
“Sabi ko sa kanila hindi magkapareho ang last year sa ngayon kasi malaking difference ‘yan so huwag tayong mag-base sa kung ano ang ginawa natin last year kundi ang gawin natin ngayon simulan ulit natin, humanap ulit tayo ng panalo,” he said. “This year kailangan focus kami all throughout.”
Carino, who will rely on his veterans Jeanette Panaga, Ranya Musa and Jan Daguil, said that they will go all out to force a series decider Tuesday.
“Siguro destined na ‘yan kung mangyayari, kung sila, sila. Pero kami alam ko kapag nakalaban naming sila hindi ganoon kadali ang ibibigay namin na game kung mananalo sila sa amin,” Carino said. “Pero huwag din silang pakasiguro din sa amin kasi ang mga players ko nanalo (sa San Beda) ang taas ng intensity n’yan pero sila galing sila sa pahinga. I’ll make sure na this Friday ready na ready ang team ko.”
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