NCAA 95: Molina, Soltones lead Team Saints in All-Star Game win

Mark Escarlote on Nov 26, 2019 05:49 PM
Molina, Soltones lead Team Saints in All-Star Game win
Former NCAA stars Ces Molina and Grethcel Soltones steered Team Saints to a five-set win over Team Heroes. (Josh Albelda)

Alumni Ces Molina and Grethcel Soltones displayed their veteran smarts in the closing stretch of the fifth set as the veteran duo powered Team Saints past Team Heroes, 25-17, 24-26, 21-25, 25-17, 17-15, on Tuesday in the first-ever NCAA All-Star volleyball match at the MOA Arena.

The former San Beda University star Molina delivered crucial hits down the stretch while ex-San Sebastian College standout Soltones, a three-time Most Valuable Player, showed her vintage form to claim the event’s MVP award.

Clinging to dear life, 14-13, the national team member Molina saved a match point before putting the Saints at match point advantage, 15-14. College of St. Benilde’s Klarissa Abriam was called for a line violation when she stepped on the line while serving that forced another deuce.

Molina, who played for the Lady Red Spikers from Season 85 to 89, scored on a heady drop ball before Team Heroes’ Arellano University alumna Jovy Prado sent her attack out.  

“It’s good to be back,” said Molina, who played middle blocker during her college days before shifting to open spiker.

“Nakakatuwa na madami ng bagong potential players ngayon na nagpapakita na lalo na sa NC,” added the Petron star. “Nakakatuwa rin na naging part ng first NCAA All-Star [volleyball]. First medal ko ito sa NCAA so mas happy ako lalo, gold pa.”

Soltones, on the other hand, finally captured an NCAA gold medal after three heartbreaking trips to the Finals during her college career including the Lady Stags’ collapse to the Lady Chiefs in spite of a thrice-to-beat advantage.   

“Ngayon nakatanggap ng gold eh,” said Soltones. “Masaya ako kasi siyempre dapat lang mag-enjoy. Hindi naman talaga nakalagay sa isip namin na manalo kasi siyempre marami ring magagaling, nakita naman natin na nasa kabila sina [Regine] Arocha.”

The All-Star volleyball game brought together two current and a school alumna from all 10 participating schools.   

“Sobrang happy kasi sa bench pa lang wala kaming ibang ginawa kundi magkwentuhan,” said Team Saints coach Macky Carino of University of Perpetual Help. “All in all sa game namin today is enjoyment lang talaga.”

“As in makita lang ng mga fans, makita ng mga bata, ng mga bagong henerasyon ngayon sa NCAA yung mga dating henerasyon,” he added. “’Yung collaboration between old and new sobrang maganda ang naging result.”

Other players who participated in the exhibition match were Season 94 Finals MVP Regine Arocha, setter Sarah Verutiao and Jovy Prado of Arellano U, Season 93 MVP ex-Queen Lady Bomber Shola Alvarez and current JRU stars Dolly Versoza and Mary May Ruiz, Kathrine Almazan, Kristine Magallanes and Arianne Agustia (alumna) of the Lady Generals; Bien Juanillo, Alexa Rafael and Cherilyn Sindayen (alumna) of the Lady Pirates and Lady Cardinals’ Lorraine Barias, Jonina Fernandez and Kat Racelis (alumna) for Team Heroes.

Those who also saw action for Team Saints were Klarissa Abriam, setter Jewel Lai and Rachel Austero (alumna) of the Lady Blazers; Lady Knights’ Julienne Castro, Chamberlaine Cunada and Miracle Mendoza (alumna) and Cesca Racraquin, Kim Manzano and national team member Ces Molina (alumna) of the Lady Red Spikers. Also part of the squad are libero Jewelle Bermillo, Kamille Tan and former MVP Grethcel Soltones (alumna) of the Lady Stags and Lady Altas’ Jenny Gaviola, Shyra Umandal and Ciny Imbo (alumna).

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