MANILA, Philippines—Raring to avoid a 0-2 record in the semifinals, perennial powerhouse San Sebastian slayed first seed Emilio Aguinaldo College, 16-25, 25-17, 20-25, 25-16, 15-12, Monday in the NCAA Season 88 women’s volleyball tournament.
The win put the Lady Stags in good position to nail a Finals berth while also sending the Lady Generals, the best team in the elimination round, into a precarious situation of bowing out of contention for a championship slot.
Bea Uy and prized rookie Gretchel Soltones teamed up to help San Sebastian bounce back from a sorry loss to defending champion Perpetual Help in their semis opener last Friday.
Uy had nine attacks and 12 digs while Soltones unleashed 25 points with the Lady Stags needing their every point as neither team wanted to give an inch in the deciding set.
Veteran Czarina Berbano converted off the block to put San Sebastian up, 13-10, and it appeared as if the Lady Stags are well on their way to victory.
Soltones, the best scorer in the elimination round with 182 points, put her team at match point, 14-12, but she got blocked in the ensuing play as EAC threatened to comeback, 13-14.
But that proved to be EAC’s last point as Berbano’s heady play sealed the win for the Lady Stags.
Off of an EAC reception following a Soltones power hit, the ball bounced right in front of Berbano, who wisely dropped the ball, catching the Lady Generals’ defense napping.
EAC failed to rebound from a poor outing against fourth seed Arellano, 14-25, 25-12, 25-20, 25-16, where it committed 42 errors.
Charm Belleza shook off a slump to finish with a team-high 21 points that helped EAC to rally from an early 4-8 deficit in the third set and she kept her team afloat in the fifth set.
The tandem of Jonah Corpuz and Trisha Crisostomo also worked for San Sebastian, drawing five attacks off quick and effective hits with EAC simply left with little answer.