NCAA Season 94 volleyball: Perpetual earns Finals berth in thrilling comeback

Mark Escarlote on Jan 29, 2019 06:55 PM
Perpetual earns Finals berth in thrilling comeback
University of Perpetual Help marched into the Finals with a thrilling win over top seed and twice-to-beat College of St. Benilde in the Final Four.

University of Perpetual Help wanted to make history.

The No. 4 seed Lady Altas wrote it Tuesday with a miraculous win.

Perpetual came back from a 1-2 match deficit and showed nerves of steel in the closing stretch of the fifth set to escape with a hard-earned 25-17, 27-29, 19-25, 26-24, 16-14, win over top seed College of St. Benilde and clinch the last NCAA Season 94 women’s volleyball Finals berth at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan Tuesday.

The Lady Altas showed their big hearts and mental toughness, erasing a 12-22 deficit in the fourth set to force a decider and coming back from a 7-10 down in the fifth to set up a best-of-three Finals series against two-time defending champion Arellano University.  

“Mental toughness,” said Lady Altas coach Macky Carino, whose squad defeated the twice-to-beat Lady Blazers in the Final Four opener last week. “Sabi ko sa kanila, ‘Hangga’t di tapos ang game, 'wag titigil na lumaban ng lumaban.”           

Graduating hitter Cindy Imbo played her heart out to post a career-high and season-best 32 points to lead the Lady Altas back into the Finals for the first time in last four years. Imbo scattered 29 kills, two aces and one kill block while adding 14 digs and 11 receptions for an all-around performance for Perpetual, which last held the title back in Season 89.

Jenny Gaviola got 10 markers while Hannah Suico and Jhona Rosal posted nine and eight markers, respectively, for the Las Pinas-based squad, which got its women's, men's and juniors team advance in the championship. 

Game 1 of the best-of-three championship series opens on Friday.

Perpetual saw itself get buried, 12-22, in the fourth frame before mounting an incredible 12-1 scoring spurt capped by Imbo's easy drop off CSB's misreceive to take a 24-23 lead. The two squads traded service errors in the next play before Imbo completed the fourth set comeback with a hit.    

The Lady Altas again went down, 7-10, in the fifth frame before Imbo scored five of the next six points of Perpetual for a 13-10 advantage. The Lady Blazers countered to tie it at 14 before Imbo took matters on her own hands with a through the block hit and the championship berth-clinching service ace.

Graduating Rachel Austero scored 17 points while Klarisa Abriam had 16 markers for CSB. Chelsea Umali landed seven aces for 14 markers while Felicia Cui got 11 for the Lady Blazers, who missed a return stint into the Finals for the third straight year since the Taft-based squad captured its breakthrough title under Carino in Season 91.   

 

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