Coming off a heartbreaker to Perpetual that halted Arellano University’s unbeaten run through the NCAA Season 95 Women’s Volleyball Tournament, Regine Arocha refused to let her team fall into a slump on Tuesday afternoon.
Behind reigning NCAA Collegiate Player of the Year, the Lady Chiefs overcame a tough challenge from Colegio de San Juan de Letran, 25-14, 26-28, 25-19, 25-16, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Arocha delivered a game-high 19 points built on 15 attacks and three service aces, lifting Arellano to a 6-1 slate to secure at least a playoff for a Final Four seat.
“Napakahalaga [nitong panalo] kasi sabihin natin, ako ang target lang namin sa elimination ay mag number two lang muna. Hindi ko tinatarget ‘yung one. Kailangan lang malagay tayo sa two kasi kung sa three doble kayod ka pa bago makapunta ng Finals,” Arellano head coach Obet Javier said.
Reigning league MVP Necole Ebuen also made her presence felt for Arellano. She hammered down 10 attacks and a pair of aces to wind up with 13 markers.
Carla Donato was instrumental as well, collecting four of her team’s seven blocks to finish with 12 points. Princess Bello chimed in eight markers in the win.
Still, Javier could not help but be worried about the way Sarah Verutiao and Faye Flores performed as Arellano’s primary playmaker and defensive specialist, respectively.
Verutiao only managed four excellent sets, struggling to find her groove despite having potent hitters at her disposal. Meanwhile, Flores had a 13-dig, 13-reception outing — a far cry from her usual output.
“Nakakatakot ‘yung performance ng team ko kasi pabago bago, dapat hindi gan’un ‘yung takbo eh. Ang nagiging problema ko ngayon ay ‘yung setter, medyo nawawala siya sa linya kaya ang laki tuloy ng nagiging diperensya,” Javier said.
“Ngayon ‘yung kahit ‘yung libero ko naka-off din ang dami niyang misreceive na bola. Sabi ko nga sa libero, hindi pwedeng gan’un dapat ang performance. Nanalo kami pero hindi gan’un kasaya dahil ang dami pa ring lapses ng team,” he added.
On the other hand, the Knights couldn’t ride on the crest of their win over Lyceum, falling to solo fifth with a 3-3 slate.
Charmberlaine Cunada, who had a 28-point outing the last time out, finished with 16 points to lead all Letran scorers. Julienne Castro had 10 markers in a losing cause.
Arellano seeks to pick up steam anew when it collides with the unscathed EAC Generals on Thursday, February 13. Meanwhile, Letran tries to regain its footing when it faces JRU on Monday, February 10. Both matches will be held at the same venue.