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Blazers torch Knights to open back-to-back bid



Losing an ace spiker, main setter, and a starting middle blocker in a flurry might spell doom to the start of a campaign for back-to-back title.

Nonetheless, Isaah Arda and the rest of the College of Saint Benilde would not have any of such problems after the Blazers pounced on the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights in three sets, 25-12, 25-21, 21-18.

The new skipper paced the defending champions with 17 points, 13 coming from attacks. While middle blocker Jethro Orian finished with 13 points off 10 spikes and three blocks.

Saint Benilde started strong with their service game to pocket the first set, but errors almost cost them the second frame. Letran led by as much four at 20-16 before Arda and Orian took over to steal the set, setting up the sweep.

“Masaya. Kasi may sumpa kami first game, usually umaabot ng fifth set o natatalo kami,” the senior winger Arda said of the win. “Na-break namin siya ngayon.”

Christopher Cristina and Ken Almoguerra each had nine points to lead the Knights. Skipper and ace spiker Bobby Gatdula was limited to just six.

The reigning champions (1-0) will take their first real test as they face the Lyceum of the Philippines University on Thursday, January 11. On the other hand, Gatdula and the rest of the Knights (0-1) just have few to days to regroup before tackling Mapua University (0-1) on Monday, January 8.

The Scores:

CSB 3 – Arda 17, Orian 13, Bacani 9, Basilan 6, Rojas 4, Magsino 2, Bautista 2, Martinez 1, Saldavia 0, De Sequerra 0, Garcia 0, Dy L.

CSJL 0 – Cistina 9, Almoguerra 9, Gatdula 6, Ladeon 5, Alipio 4, Tumbali 0, Ramos 0, Timbreza L, Centeno L.



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



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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Jake Vicen saves Saint Benilde’s season, forces winner-take-all



For most of the match, College of Saint Benilde Blazers’ goalkeeper Jake Vicen was under pressure. However, that just set up his heroics in the end.

The third-year custodian came up big with two huge denials in the shootout, as the Blazers won 4-2 after the match ended at 3-3 after 120 minutes against the Arellano University Chiefs, Friday evening at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Applying the same game plan and using their speed advantage, the Chiefs pummeled the Blazers’ defense, plucking a chance at the set piece. The free kick went for naught, but the succeeding sequence turned into the go-ahead goal.

In the seventh minute, the ball bounced in front of Arellano captain Cymun Sanquilos, who blasted the ball into the top corner past the outstretched arms of Jake Vicen.

The rest of the first period was a defensive clinic from the Season 91 champions, as Saint Benilde were left scouring for opportunities to level the match. The green-shirts simply waited for that moment, as their possession improved and their attacking aggressiveness increased in the following period.

At the hour mark, Dean Ebarle received a low cross inside the penalty area, and finding himself unmarked, slotted the ball into the bag for the equalizer.

Both teams tried to break the deadlock once more, only neither team could not barge through the opposing defense in the remaining minutes of the second half and the whole of extra time.

Thus, the match has to be decided on kicks from the penalty spot.

Vicen and Jericho Desalisa denied the second kickers setting up a dramatic finish, to which the former turned his focus, “Sabi ko sa coaches, ‘Kukunin ko ‘to. Yung shoot out di naturalist hangga’t ‘di pumipito yung ref.”

Patrick Bernarte missed miserably wide as Vicen was on point, setting up long-time teammate Moiselle Alforque for the winning spot kick.

Head coach Marlon Maro was pleased on how the Blazers had responded in this game. As for the sudden-death match, he commented, “May the best team win.”

That third and deciding match is scheduled on Wednesday also at 6:00pm.

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Arellano draws first blood in extra-time classic against Benilde



Big time players come up with big time plays in the biggest stage

NCAA Season 91 Most Valuable Player Jumbel Guinabang has scored twice. But no goal was as huge as his second in extra time, propelling the Arellano University Chiefs to take Game 1 of the NCAA Seaosn 93 Seniors Football Finals from the College of Saint Benilde Blazers, 3-2, Friday evening at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Right from the get-go, the action was intense, as both teams plucked two goals. Guinabang ​received a good long delivery and ​swiftly took the opening goal just three minutes from kick off. However, the lead did not last long, as Daniel Liozo equalized just seconds after for Saint Benilde.

In the 26th minute, the Chiefs once more intercepted a Benildean pass in the midfield before Charles Gamutan made a speedy run to the opponent’s goal for the second go-ahead shot past Jake Vicen.

​Saint Benilde skipper Renz Tulayba might have taken four minutes to put the match back on level terms, but it was a similarly well-executed counterattack that knotted the score at two apiece.

Despite the score line, Arellano head coach Ravelo Saluria was pleased with his boys performance especially in this period expressing, “Happy ako. Sinunod nung mga bata yung game plan lalo na nung first half.”

Gambling on positional changes in the second half, the Season 91 kings almost paid for it. The Blazers pounced on opportunities to take the upper hand in the following period, with returning Dean Ebarle and semis hero Wilmer Lopes knocking on the blue-shirts’ door. However, the forwards were not able to convert these chances, as Arellano keeper Jericho Desalisa kept himself busy.

The situation continued well into the extra time before Saint Benilde almost ran away with the match winner. Carmelo Genco fired from the top of the penalty box, but Desalisa did well enough to parry the shot for a corner kick. The Blazers froze after that missed opportunity on the set piece, as an errant pass was once more picked up by the Chiefs

Defender Patrick Bernarte found himself with the ball and sped to Vicen’s goal. The wing back found Guinabang up front and the former MVP wasted no time to slot the ball into the goal for the clincher with just three minutes left in the extension.

Nagtataka ko kung bakit maraming nag-cramps,” Saluria expressed. Nonetheless, it was the determination of the former champs that prevailed to snag the victory. “Puso lang talaga nung mga bata.”

Arellano (1-0) will shoot for their second title in three years when they clash with Benilde (0-1) again on Monday, January 15, at 6pm.

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Slow-starting Saint Benilde finds rhythm late, upends Lyceum



After an error-filled first two sets, the College of Saint Benilde Lady Blazers got their act together and kept their perfect start to NCAA Season 93 intact in five sets against the Lyceum of the Philippines University Lady Pirates, 22-25, 23-25, 25-14, 25-13, 15-10, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Lady Blazers helped the Lady Pirates get off to a splendid start, relinquishing 18 errors combined in the first two sets. CSB head coach Arnold Laniog lamented their early-game struggles which has become their alarming habit.

“Noong una ko palang hinawakan ‘yung team, may ganito na kaming problem. Hanggang ngayon nireremdyohan namin ‘yun. Kanina talagang struggle ‘yung simula namin,” said Laniog.

The last three sets were a completely different story as Benilde thoroughly dominated. The Lady Blazers slammed Lyceum with a 15-6 lead in the third set and a 14-5 lead in the fourth to force a decider.

While Lyceum forced a 4-all deadlock in the fifth set, that was their final hoorah as Benilde countered with a 5-0 run to seal the game.

“Gusto ko ‘yung simula namin parang ‘yung pagtapos namin ng laro kanina. Ang hirap kasi kung mabagal ‘yung simula namin tapos makakakuha agad ng momentum ‘yung kalaban,” added Laniog.

Transferee Klarissa Abriam topped all scorers with 18 points while veteran middle blocker Rachel Austero managed 16 to lead the Lady Blazers.

CSB (2-0) tries for their third straight win against the San Beda College Lady Red Spikers (1-0) on Tuesday, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Bien Juanillo tallied 14 points for Lyceum who fell to an 0-2 record.

The Lady Pirates take on the the Mapua University (0-2) on Monday.

The Scores

CSB (3) – Abriam 18, Austero 16, Pablo 12, Musa 11, Ventura 8, Cardiente 6, Daguil 1, Enginco 0, Lim (L), Torres (L)

LPU (2) – Juanillo 14, Sevilla 11, Miralles 9, Bongabong 5, Patio 5, Genova 2, Marcella (L), Romanban (L)

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