Three-time reigning champion Arellano University dispatched also-ran Emilio Aguinaldo College, 25-15, 25-14, 25-20, to strengthen its hold of the second spot in the NCAA Season 95 Women’s Volleyball Tournament, Thursday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Even without the on-court presence of the fatigue-stricken Regine Arocha, the Lady Chiefs still didn’t lose a step. They relied on the offensive thrust of Carla Donato and Necole Ebuen to orchestrate the sweep of the Lady Generals, securing at least a playoff for a semifinals twice-to-beat incentive with a 7-1 card.
“Basta gagawin lang namin best namin. Kung sino man makatapat, ta-try namin makuha ‘yung panalo doon. Every game lang naman, ang gusto namin ay manalo ng manalo,” Arellano head coach Obet Javier said.
Donato spearheaded Arellano’s scoring barrage, uncorking all but one of her 12 points from attacks. Ebuen supplied 11 markers built on 10 hits, with a bulk coming at the critical juncture of the match where EAC threatened to fight back.
The Lady Chiefs dictated the tempo right from the opening whistle, until the Lady Generals found their groove in the decisive third set to take a commanding 20-16 lead.
EAC saw its offense stagnate from that point onward, though. Ebeun seized that opening, going on a scoring binge that knotted things up at 20. Sarah Verutiao then caught fire from the service area, propelling Arellano nearer to the finish line before Donato put up the lethal blows.
“Actually bago mag-third set, niremind ko ‘yung team ko na third set nanaman ‘yan. Baka kasi ‘yun talaga sakit ng Arellano. Buti na-overcome ‘yung gan’ung pressure at naging maganda ‘yung resulta,” Javier added.
Nicole Sasuman stepped up in Arocha’s stead with seven points. Meanwhile, Verutiao churned out Arellano’s offense to the tune of 18 excellent sets laced with five markers.
EAC, on the other hand, concluded another forgettable campaign with a dismal 1-8 slate.
Cathrine Almazan was the lone bright spot for the Lady Generals. She put up a near triple-double performance of 14 points, 10 digs and seven receptions that went down the drain.
Arellano seeks to end its preliminaries on a high note when it tries to quell the streaking St. Benilde, who is a win away from an outright Finals berth, on Monday at the same venue.