After an uncharacteristic performance in Game One, the defending champions Arellano University Lady Chiefs gutted out a five-set win over the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Lady Altas, 23-25, 25-9, 25-18, 22-25, 15-12. They send the NCAA Season 94 Women’s Volleyball Finals to a do-or-die Game Three at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The Lady Chiefs were on track to close the match in four sets, leading 20-17. The season’s First Best Open Hitter Cindy Imbo revitalized the Lady Altas, scoring thrice in a run that allowed Perpetual to draw, 21-all. From there, Arellano doomed themselves with errors – the most crucial of which was a net touch on setter Sarah Verutiao that gave Perpetual a 23-21 edge. Jenny Gaviola then roofed a Princess Bello attack, setting up Jowie Versoza’s set-clinching hit.
With the decider hanging in the balance, the Lady Chiefs took charge thanks to errors from the Lady Altas. Season MVP Necole Ebuen drilled back-to-back hits that gave Arellano a 14-11 edge. Fittingly, the Lady Altas’ fifth set ended with a whimper after Hershey Llorente’s service error sailed long.
“Nag-adjust talaga kami sa receive at sa blocks. Kahit papaano, medyo napigilan namin si Imbo noong huli, kaya nakatulong talaga ‘yun sa amin,” said Arellano University head coach Obet Javier.
“Malaking tulong na rin siguro sa amin na nakapag-bonding kami noong isang linggo ng break. Tutuloy lang namin ‘yun and sana gumana ulet sa next game,” he added.
Ebuen and Princess Bello finished with 18 points, while Carla Donato added 13.
Imbo managed 18 markers, but was the only Lady Altas in double-digits.
Game Three will be on Wednesday at the same venue.
AU (3) – Bello 18, Ebuen 18, Donato 13, Arocha 12, Verutiao 7, Juanich 3, Daisog 1, San Gregorio 1, Gabito 0, Ramirez 0, Buemia (L), Flores (L)
UPHSD (2) – Imbo 18, Rosal 8, Gaviola 7, Suico 6, Tripoli 6, Llorente 3, Umandal 2, Versoza 1, Castillo 0, Padua 0, Scott 0, Dayao (L), Sangalang (L)