NCAA volleyball: Lady Chiefs, Lady Blazers move closer to Finals
MANILA, Philippines — Arellano University and College of St. Benilde inched closer towards arranging a Finals date after besting their respective rivals in four sets at the start of the single-round semifinals of the NCAA Season 89 women’s volleyball tournament Monday at the Arena in San Juan.
The Lady Chiefs repulsed last year’s finalists San Sebastian Lady Stags, 25-9, 25-17, 15-25, 25-21, while the Lady Blazers reasserted their mastery over defending champions Perpetual Help Lady Altas, 26-24, 17-25, 25-20, 25-20.
“We really studied our opponents well. Our hard work paid off,” said St. Benilde rookie coach Macky Cariño, whose team also beat Perpetual Help in the elimination round. “The team really wanted to win.”
Jeanette Panaga and Jannine Navarro were a force to reckon with as they combined for 36 hits and six of the Lady Blazers’ 10 block points to overcome a game-high 20 markers from Honey Royse Tubino.
Arellano leaned on Menchie Tubiera’s 17 points and eight digs while CJ Rosario chipped in with 13 points.
Arellano and CSB can clinch championship berths with a win on Friday.
Gretchel Soltones powered her way to a 20-point outing to lead the Lady Stags but was largely contained in the fourth set by the Lady Chiefs’ defense.
“We really prepared well for Soltones as we all know, she is their main option,” said Arellano coach Obet Javier in Filipino.
Arellano came away with the victory despite the injury to its veteran setter Mary Jane Ticar, who played limited minutes after suffering a bruised knee in a collision with Lady Stags libero Mae Crisostomo last Friday.