Worrying win

Daryl Racraquin and the San Beda spikers dance with danger before disposing of Letran during their NCAA showdown on Friday. —AUGUST DELA CRUZ

A slow-starting San Beda hurdled Letran, 24-26, 25-19, 25-18, 25-17, on Friday to remain unbeaten in three starts in the 95th NCAA women’s volleyball tournament at Filoil Flying V Centre.

But that wasn’t enough to ease the worries of coach Nemesio Gavino Jr.

“We can’t relax; there are still many teams above us [in the standings],” said Gavino, whose wards next tackle three-time defending champions Arellano Lady Chiefs.

“Arellano is a champion team, it would be very hard to beat them,” Gavino said. “So we need to prepare carefully.”

For one, San Beda needs to start better against Arellano than it did against Letran, which took the first set of their showdown.

But Gavino said he’s satisfied with his wards’ key adjustments in the second set, which was when San Beda began asserting its dominance over Letran.“When [the players] realized that we were losing, they woke up,” Gavino said. “Fortunately the players stepped up and we had the good result.”

Letran suffered its first loss in three games.

Later, Perpetual displayed strength of character in turning back Mapua, 20-25, 24-26, 25-18, 25-12, 15-6, to also script a third straight win.

Perpetual coach Macky Cariño said they learned an important lesson in scoring their third win in four games, especially after falling behind by two sets.

“This was a game we could have won easily,” Cariño said. “But I take it, a win is a win. And for sure we learned a lot from here. There are a lot of tougher games ahead.”

Bianca Tripoli top-scored with 20 points, while Jhona Rosal, Shaira Umandal and Dana Persa added 15, 14, and 13, respectively for Perpetual, which handed Mapua its second loss in three games.

Cesca Racraquin and Nieza Viray once again delivered the points for the Lady Red Spikers, banging in 22 and 12 points, respectively. Kimberly Manzano added nine points.

Letran’s top gunner Chamberlaine Cunada scored 17 points but could not get enough help from the rest of the Lady Knights.

San Beda, which earlier disposed of Jose Rizal and San Sebastian, made 85 excellent digs against the 70 of Letran.