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NCAA

Eight-woman Lady Stags in survival mode

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Since he started coaching the San Sebastian College-Recoletos Lady Stags in the mid-80s, Roger Gorayeb has always made the NCAA Final Four.

“Hindi ko maalala na hindi ako nakapasok ng Final Four man lang,” said the fiery mentor.

Now, the decorated head coach is extremely worried that streak will end this season.

After back-to-back heartbreaking seasons that ended with bridesmaid finishes, the Lady Stags come into Season 93 as overwhelming underdogs.

Not only did San Sebastian lose their top two scorers from last season in three-time MVP Grethcel Soltones and middle blocker Kath Villegas, the Lady Stags only have nine players in their official lineup.

Gorayeb says this was a result of two years of no recruitment due to the national K-to-12 academic shift and a malady of preseason injuries.

In their opening game against the Emilio Aguinaldo College Lady Generals, the Lady Stags had just eight players lined up, one of whom — Julie Ann Tianco — was unavailable due to a knee sprain.

Still, Gorayeb’s seven bested a full line-up of Lady Generals in relatively easy fashion.

“Bawal nga magkasakit eh. Bawal nga ring mag-tampo eh. Wala, talagang pagti-tiyagaan namin ngayon,” he conceded. “Siyempre para sa eskwelahan ito, hindi naman ito personal. Pilitin na lang namin maka-survive.

“Sana makaabot kami kahit sa Top Four lang.”

Despite their circumstances, Gorayeb is not letting his team just throw away the season. With two key players graduating in libero Alyssa Eroa and setter Vira Guillema, he wants the Lady Stags to at least fight for a Final Four spot.

“Meron na akong naranasan na pito, champion pa nga kami. Maraming beses. Simula’t sapul, hindi ako nagdo-doseng player. Marami na sa akin ‘yung sampu. Nag-cha-champion ako na pito lang kami. Kaya lang, ‘yung pito na ‘yun sobrang ang lalakas noon,” he recalled.

“Ito lang ‘yung time na parang nate-threaten ‘yung pagpasok namin sa Top Four, for the last 30-plus years, hindi naman kami nawala doon.

“The lowest na nakuha ko, third place eh. Eh wala,” the decorated mentor added. “Pero I don’t want to look at it on that perspective na mahina ‘yung player kasi marunong naman yang mag-volleyball. Ang kailangan lang talaga, isapuso nila.

“Kulang kami sa tao kaya kailangan lahat extra effort.”

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Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball – from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado’s setting.

NCAA

Red Spikers extinguish Blazers for second win

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Shaking off a forgettable outing against the Perpetual Help Altas last January 11, the San Beda College Red Spikers vented their ire on defending champions College of Saint Benilde Blazers in four sets, 25-15, 25-16, 23-25, 26-24, and claimed their second win of the season, Friday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

“Sabi ng coaches kalimutan na yung talo,” shared captain Lorenze Santos of what transpired after that match.

So, in this game, the San Beda team poured on what they worked hard for to regain momentum. “Binuhos po namin lahat ng ginawa namin sa training [ngayon].”

After tight starts in all the first two sets, the Mendiola-based side pulled away to register the seemingly insurmountable 2-0 lead.

Nonetheless, summoning the heart of a champion and led by seniors Isaah Arda and Jethro Orian, the reigning champions pulled off gritty runs to snag the third set and making a tussle of the fourth.

Ultimately, Adrian Viray virtually ended the match with a vicious serve, which the Blazers failed to convert.

The prolific outside hitter finished with 17 points, 11 coming from attacks and five off blocks. Former skipper Mark Encino also registered 17 markers.

The Red Spikers (2-1) will face the Mapua University, also at 2-1, on Friday, January 19.

Orian was such a presence at the net, ending up with 20 points for the Taft-based squad.

The defending champions Blazers (2-1) will try to bounce back later that day against San Sebastian College (0-3).

The Scores:

SBC 3 – Viray 17, Enciso 17, Santos 11, Patenio 7, Amagan 7, Desuyo 3, Zabala 0, Genobaten 0, Manliclic 0, Casin L.

CSB 1 – Orian 20, Arda 18, Bacani 6, Basilan 4, Bautista 4, Magsino 2, Martinez 0, Garcia 0, San Miguel 0, Saldavia 0, Dy L.

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CSB

Red-hot San Beda edges Saint Benilde in four-set thriller

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The San Beda College Lady Red Spikers carved another character-building win as they outclassed fellow contenders College of Saint Benilde Lady Blazers, 25-22, 24-26, 27-25, 25-19, Tuesday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Cesca Racraquin put up a show of two-way excellence as she starred with 17 points, 15 digs, and nine excellent receptions.

Nonetheless, it was a huge test of reception efficiency throughout the match for both teams, as San Beda registered only 21 percent, while Benilde were even worse at 16 percent.

However, the white-shirts leaned on their attacks, outscoring their opponents at 50-44, with Racraquin finishing with 17 of this skill.

Despite the lapses, head coach Nemesio Gavino Jr. was pleased of their good start. “Every game importante sa ‘min. Crucial ‘to eh, single round robin so kailangan every game mapanalo namin,” he said.

Middle hitters Ranya Musa and Rachel Austero registered 13 markers apiece, but was not enough to stop their first defeat.

The Lady Red Spikers (3-0) will gun for their fourth straight as they face the Mapua University (0-3) on Friday. The 2-1 Blazers will take on the winless Emilio Aguinaldo College (0-3) on Monday.

The Scores:

SBC 3 – Racraquin C 17, Espiritu 14, Viray N 13, Viray J 8, Paras 6, Cuevas 5, Manuel 3, Buno L, Racraquin D L.

CSB 1 – Austero 13, Musa 13, Ventura 11, Abriam 11, Cardiente 6, Pablo 5, Enginco 1, Cui 1, Dolorito 0, Daguil 0, Torres L, Lim L.

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AU

Undefeated Arellano halts JRU’s winning streak

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Though suffering their first set loss of the season, defending champions Arellano University Lady Chiefs still snapped the Jose Rizal University Lady Bombers’ two game winning streak and remained unbeaten in NCAA Season 93, 25-11, 22-25, 25-18, 25-16, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Coming into the game having won all their matches this season in straight sets, Arellano shockingly surrendered a loss in the second set. With his team trailing for the entire set, Arellano head coach Obet Javier knew such a setback was inevitable and it was up to his team to regain momentum.

“Maganda din talaga ang simula ng JRU noong second set tapos hindi kami agad nakabangon. Nakita din talaga doon ‘yung mga kailangan pa naming ayusin,” said Javier. “Sabi ko sa kanila na pinakita na nila ‘yung mababa nilang laro, kailangan ipakita din nila na kaya nilang maka-recover.”

The Lady Chiefs responded immediately, dumping the Lady Bombers in a 13-6 hole in the third set, then a 15-6 gap in the fourth frame to close the match convincingly.

Last season’s breakout star Regine Arocga topped the Lady Chiefs with 20 points while Season 92 Finals MVP Jovielyn Prado added 17.

The Lady Chiefs (4-0) look to continue their winning ways when they face the Lyceum of the Philippines University (1-2) on Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

JRU captain Shola Alvarez continued her offensive hot-streak, grabbing 19 points. Rookie Dolly Versoza tallied 12 markers.

JRU (2-2) takes on the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA (2-1) also on Sunday.

The Scores

AU (3) – Arocha 20, Prado 17, Esguerra 12, Ebuen 11, Marzan 10, Ramirez 5, Bello 1, Donato 1, Verutiao 1, Balanoba 0, Buemia (L), Flores (L)

JRU (1) – Alvarez 19, Versoza 12, Montojo 10, Rivera 3, Bodiongan 3, Ebuenga 2, Bautista 0, Bondoc 0, Sibangan 0, Macaraya (L)

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AU

Chiefs remain unscathed, rally past Heavy Bombers

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The Arellano University Chiefs stayed on pace for the top spot in the NCAA Season 93 Men’s Volleyball standings after outmuscling the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers, 25-18, 21-25, 25-14, 25-22, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

After a second-set hiccup, the Chiefs regained composure after a reminder from head coach Sherwin Meneses.

“Sabi ko lang sa kanila na hindi puwedeng bigla na lang kami nagre-relax ng ganoon kasi importante lahat ng laban namin. Kailangan focused kami lagi,” said Meneses.

Arellano then dominated the last two sets, grabbing early leads in both and never looking back. Last season’s semifinalists outclassed their foes with steady blocking, netting 15 to JRU’s eight, and serving, delivering eight aces to the Bombers’ two.

“Sana magtuloy-tuloy lang ‘yung ganitong laro namin kasi alam din namin na pahirap ng pahirap ‘yung mga laban namin this season,” Meneses added.

Kevin Liberato torched the Bombers with 16 points built on eight attacks, seven blocks, and an ace while Christian Segovia added 11 points which includes four rejections.

Wenjo Lahaylahay led JRU with 10 points, while Herman Salazar and Raymark Francisco managed nine markers, apiece.

Arellano (3-0) stakes their perfect start on Sunday when they face the Lyceum of the Philippines University (0-2) at the FilOil Flying V Centre. The Bombers (0-4) take on the undefeated University of Perpetual Help System DALTA (3-0) also on Sunday.

The Scores

AU (3) – Liberato 16, Segovia 11, Lapuz 10, Dela Paz 6, Meneses 6, Soriano 5, Cabillan 4, Liberato J. 2, Domingo 1, Arellano 0, Caccam 0, Blanco (L), Esguerra (L)

JRU (1) – Lahaylahay 10, Francisco 9, Salazar 9, Rabaja 6, Soriano 6, Cruz 2, Cebrero 1, Sulivas 1, Ferwelo 0, Defensor (L), Flor (L)

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