Regine Arocha unleashed a career-high performance, rallying Arellano University past the win-hungry San Sebastian, 25-17, 25-18, 25-27, 25-13, in the NCAA Season 95 Women’s Volleyball Tournament, Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The reigning Finals MVP rained down 19 attacks and four aces on the Lady Stags en route to a personal-best 24 points. This, while showcasing her defensive prowess with 11 excellent digs and nine excellent receptions for a near triple-double outing.
Arocha’s display of all-around brilliance kept the Lady Chiefs’ record spotless at 4-0 for a share of the lead with idle St. Benilde.
Still, despite a masterful production from one of the league’s finest players, the Lady Chiefs had a tough time against San Sebastian.
“Kung titingnan natin, ‘di talaga maganda ang laro ng mga players ko eh. Ang daming naka-off ngayon. Bello wala, ‘yung setter ko wala, ultimo ang middle ko ‘yung dalawa ‘di effective ngayon,” Arellano head coach Obet Javier rued.
True enough, the Lady Chiefs could not crank up their offensive machine for enough firepower to finish the match in straight sets. No thanks to this, they surrendered a set for the first time this season.
“Talagang nag-relax talaga ang mga players, kaya nakakatakot. Kumabaga ‘di dapat gan’un ang isang team eh. Kaya dapat imbes na ma-expose mo ang iba na bata, ‘di mo magawa kasi ‘yung team mo ‘di mo malaman kung lalayuan ba niya ng husto o ididikit na naman niya ulit,” the multi-titled mentor added.
Sitting at a comfortable 22-18 cushion in the third frame, the Lady Chiefs saw their offense turn sour. This allowed the Lady Stags to close in and pick up steam, culminating in a deadlock at 24. After another stalemate at 25, Alex Sison and Shane Requierme pounced on Arellano’s poor execution to extend the match.
Fortunately, though, the Lady Chiefs bounced back ferociously in the fourth set. They sprinted to a double-digit spread at 21-11, then never looked back.
Necole Ebuen ended up with double-double of 10 points and 11 excellent digs, while Princess Bello chimed in nine. Mikaela Juanich and Carla Donato managed eight markers apiece.
On the other hand, San Sebastian remains winless in four matches.
Veronica Carreon topped the Lady Stags with 13 points. Reyann Canete poured in 12 markers in a losing cause.
Arellano will try to keep its unblemished record intact when it collides with also-unbeaten San Beda on Monday, January 27. Meanwhile, San Sebastian shall take on another surging opponent in St. Benilde on Tuesday, January 28. Both matches will be held at the same venue.