MANILA, Philippines—Defending champion Perpetual Help fashioned out a hard-fought 25-22, 26-28, 25-16, 25-23 triumph over gritty Arellano University to seize the first Finals berth in the NCAA Season 88 women’s volleyball tournament at the Arena in San Juan.
The Lady Altas banked on reigning MVP Sandra delos Santos and skipper April Sartin, who combined for 35 points.
Perpetual Help overcame a furious fightback by Arellano, who rose from six points down to take an 18-17 edge in the fourth set, with Delos Santos fittingly coming up with the match-clinching point on a kill.
The Lady Chiefs, who shocked first seed Emilio Aguinaldo College, 14-25, 25-12, 25-20, 25-16, in the opener of the semifinal round last Friday, refused to go down with Menchie Tubiera and Danna Henson keeping them within step of the Lady Altas, who also drew major contributions from Honey Tubino.
Henson rolled off Arellano’s final two points that pushed the Lady Chiefs to within one, 23-24, before Delos Santos’ hit from the middle front line of the court.
Perpetual Help’s win also knocked off EAC out of contention for a championship slot after the Lady Generals fell to 0-2 after their 25-16, 17-25, 25-20, 16-25, 12-15 setback against San Sebastian.
Delos Santos scored 18 points with three blocks while the high-leaping Sartin added 17 points.
Henson and Tubiera had 14 and 13 points respectively for Arellano, which tangles with San Sebastian next with the last Finals slot at stake.