NO SWEEP: CSB stuns Arellano U
Mark Escarlote on Jan 29, 2018 05:26 PM
College of St. Benilde halted Arellano University's 19-game winning streak to deny the Lady Chiefs of a chance to advance in the best-of-three Finals outright.
(FilOil Flying V Centre, San Juan)
8:00 a.m. –- San Beda vs SSC-R (jrs)
9:30 a.m. –- San Beda vs. SSC-R (m)
11:00 a.m. –- San Beda vs. SSC-R (w)
12:30 p.m. –- Mapua vs. Perpetual (w)
2:00 p.m. –- Mapua vs. Perpetual (m)
College of St. Benilde shocked repeat-seeking Arellano University in a huge morale-boosting upset win, 25-21, 25-20, 19-25, 25-12, Monday to remain on the right track in the race for the 93rd NCAA women’s volleyball tournament Final Four at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The Lady Blazers relied on their solid net defense and heavy serves to claim their fourth win in seven outings while putting a blemish on the semis-bound Lady Chiefs’ record after eight games.
The win denied Arellano U of a chance to complete an elimination round sweep and an outright best-of-three Finals berth. This is the first time in three years that the league will play a Final Four format after San Sebastian College swept the elims in Seasons 91 and 92 that forced a stepladder semis.
CSB’s victory, a sweet revenge on the same team that dethroned the Lady Blazers in Season 92 stepladder semis, also snapped Arellano U’s 19-game winning streak that started last season.
“Sabi ko nga sa preparation namin, itong Arellano maghahabol ng sweep and at the same time sila ang defending champion so mayroon talagang mag-iiba ang identity nila pagdating sa laro,” said CSB interim coach Arnold Laniog. “Pero once na magawa namin na mag-start kami ng strong, mag-start kami ng maganda, possible na pwedeng bumaligtad ang result ng game. Which is nangyari nga sa first set. Although lumalamang sila ng malaki pero momentum-wise, nakikita ko sa mga players ko na naka-stick sila sa kung ano ang gusto naming mangyari as a team.”
Graduating middle blocker Ranya Musa finished with 17 points highlighted by five kill blocks while Rachel Austero nailed 11 kills with two kill blocks and two aces for 15 markers for the Taft-based squad. Marites Pablo scored 13 points and added 13 excellent receptions while fellow National University transferee Klarisa Abriam finished with 13 markers.
CSB played catchup in the opening set and were behind 17-20 before stunning Arellano with a closing 8-1 blitz sealed by a Felicia Cui service ace to steal the frame.
With momentum on their side, the Lady Blazers dictated the tempo in the second frame before a hiccup in the third. Smelling blood, CSB built a 20-10 gap capped by back-to-back aces by Austero.
Arellano U surrendered the match with back-to-back miscues sealed by an attack error by skipper Mary Anne Esguerra, whose spike sailed long.
Jovielyn Prado had 14 points while Necole Ebuen got 12 for the Lady Chiefs.
In men's play, the Chiefs avenged their women's team in a five-set victory over defending champion Blazers, 17-25, 25-15, 25-16, 22-25, 15-8, to claim the first Final Four berth.
John Joseph Cabillan and Christian Dela Paz bannered Arellano U with 17 and 16 points, respectively, in the Chiefs' seventh win in eight games while dropping CSB to 5-2.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles