NCAA Season 94 volleyball: Lady Chiefs now a win away from an outright Finals berth
Mark Escarlote on Jan 10, 2019 04:51 PM
Reigning champion Arellano University moved a win closer to an outright Finals berth.
Defending two-time champion Arellano University started out flat and went through some scary moments in the fourth set against a very determined University of Perpetual Help before emerging still unscathed with an 18-25, 25-16, 25-19, 26-24, escape Thursday in the NCAA Season 94 women’s volleyball competition at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The Lady Chiefs claimed their eighth straight win in as many outings to move within a victory away from advancing to the Finals outright.
“’Yun talaga yung plano namin this season, talagang kumbaga mas maganda na ‘yung nakatuntong ka na sa Finals at mag-aabang ka na lang kung sino ang makakalaban mo,” said Arellano U coach Obet Javier, whose squad can automatically advance in the best-of-three championship with a win against San Beda University on Tuesday in their rematch of last year’s Finals.
The Lady Chiefs' win also gave idle College of St. Benilde (6-1) a free ride into the semifinals.
Last season’s rookie of the year Necole Ebuen shined the brightest for Arellano U with 16 points coming off 12 attacks and four kill blocks while Regine Arocha played an all-around game with 11 points, 16 digs and nine excellent receptions. Sarah Verutiao tallied 20 excellent sets to help the Lady Chiefs blast 40 attacks.
Arellano U recovered from a set down to take the next two frames but faced a tough challenge from the Lady Altas in the fourth set.
The Lady Chiefs squandered a 22-18 lead in the four set as they allowed Perpetual to crawl its way back into the game with a 5-1 rally to tie the frame at 23.
Princess Bello, who had nine points, scored on an off the block hit but Jhona Rosal saved a match point for the Lady Altas with a kill block. Rosal committed an error on the next play and Cindy Imbo sent her attack straight to the net in Perpetual’s last of 40 miscues.
The Lady Altas dropped to 4-3 mark tied with San Sebastian College.
Imbo was the only Perpetual player in double figures with 13. Jenny Gaviola had nine while Jowie Albert Versoza finished with seven for the Lady Altas, who are now in a must-win situation in their last two assignments against SSC-R and Jose Rizal University to keep their semifinals hopes alive.
Meanwhile, the Altas came back from a set down to beat the Chiefs, 19-25, 25-14, 25-20, 27-25, and clinch the first Final Four berth in a rematch of last year's Finals.
Perpetual won its seventh straight win in as many outings to move within two victories away from an outright championship berth.
Ronniel Rosales scored 19 points while Season 93 Rookie/Most Valuable Player Joebert Almodiel got 16 markers and 28 excellent receptions to pace the Altas, who sent Arellano U down to 6-2 slate.
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