Alvarez pumps in 23 as JRU books first Final Four stint
Shola Alvarez delivered 23 points to lead Jose Rizal University closer to a Final Four spot.
Shola Alvarez played another monster game as Jose Rizal University prevailed over upset-conscious Lyceum of the Philippines University, 25-13, 23-25, 25-11, 25-12, to punch a Final Four berth playoff in the 93rd NCAA women’s volleyball competition Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The graduating hitter, a top contender for the season Most Valuable Player award, smoked the Lady Pirates’ defense with 16 attacks, nailed four aces and was active at the net with three kill blocks for the Lady Bombers, who closed the elimination round with 6-3 win-loss slate.
JRU advanced outright to its first-ever semis appearance since the return of its volleyball program in 2008 after University of Perpetual Help defeated College of St. Benilde, 27-25, 25-23, 11-25, 32-30. The Lady Bombers will take on repeat-seeking and twice-to-beat Arellano University in the Final Four.
No. 2 seed and twice-to-beat armed San Beda and Perpetual clash in the other semis pairing.
The Lady Bombers’ victory also booted out San Sebastian College in the semis race, the Lady Stags first in the Final Four era.
“Sobrang proud ako sa kanila kasi pinaghirapan nila yan and hindi naman madali ang training talaga di ba?” said JRU coach Mia Tioseco.
Rookie Dolly Versoza, who was at the service line for 15 straight rallies during JRU’s blistering scoring spurt in the fourth set, added 15 markers with 11 coming from attacks and four from aces while Season 92 Best Opposite hitter Karen Montojo got 12 points.
JRU got into trouble early in the fourth, 5-11, before unleashing a momentum-swaying 15-0 rally capped by an ace by Versoza for a 20-11 advantage. A crosscourt attack that went wide by Alvarez gave LPU a chance to breathe before the Lady Bombers took the next four points to claim the win.
“Buti na-compose nila ang sarili nila and nagtulu’y-tuloy hanggang matapos ang fourth set,” said Tioseco, a former University of the Philippines volleyball and basketball varsity player.
Monica Sevilla and Christine Miralles scored 11 each while Bien Juanillo posted 10 for the Lady Pirates, who gave away 38 points off errors and closed their dismal season with only a win in nine outings.
Meanwhile, JRU defeated LPU, 25-20, 26-24, 25-27, 25-21, to tie its victim at 2-7 slate at the close of their campaigns.
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