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Benilde torches Perpetual, moves on to Semifinal

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“May tiwala ako sa team ko, kaya nilang bumawi.”

These are the words of College of Saint Benilde Head Coach Macky Cariño after his team’s loss to Arellano in the eliminations.

His belief on his squad materialized as the protégé snatched one against his mentor, University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Head Coach Sammy Acaylar, when his Lady Blazers toppled the young Lady Altas, 16-25 25-19 25-11 25-21, Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Arena, San Juan City to advance to the next round of the stepladder playoffs.

The Lady Altas dictated the pace early in the first set and mounted a 5-1 lead. Reception problems continued to haunt the Lady Blazers allowing Perpetual’s lead to balloon to 14-6, powered by the hits of wing attackers, Outside Hitter, Jamela Suyat, and Team Captain, Ana Diocareza. Even as CSB tried to rally back, the Las Piñas-based spikers closed out the set, 25-16.

It was CSB’s turn to use the service area to their advantage in the following set. With better attacking reception and floor defense, Djanel Cheng was able to use her Middle Hitter, Ranya Musa in this frame. The third-year stalwart produced clutch hits to pull her team into the lead. The Lady Altas, however, took advantage of a very defensive rotation from their opponents as they were able to outsmart the Blazers and inched closer, 22-18. Nonetheless, Jannine Navarro sent the ball emphatically to the ground to level the match at a set apiece.

Taking their momentum into the third set, the Lady Blazers torched the opponents again from the service line. CSB slowly but surely built a huge lead against Perpetual, getting contributions from Outside Spikers Navarro and Arianne Daguil. Daguil aggressively attacked the blockers of the Lady Altas and mounted the biggest advantage at twelve, 21-9. Not taking any chances, the Lady Blazers shook off the challenge as Chloe Santillan finished off the set and took the 2-1 set advantage for her team.

The Lady Altas held their ground at the start of the fourth set and threatened to send the game into a deciding frame. Suyat starred in the early goings of the set as Perpetual snatched the lead, 8-6, at the first technical timeout. The Blazers readjusted their defensive and reception patterns, slowly crawling their way into the set at 12-all. With Jeannette Panaga having her way on the service line, fellow Middle Blocker Musa and Daguil took care of the offense. Two straight blocks from Musa and a kill from Daguil sealed the win and the progression of the Lady Blazers into the next round.

The Lady Blazers established their net defense with 11 blocks against 4 of the Lady Altas. CSB also finished with 10 service aces led by 3 from Panaga. Navarro and Musa led the Blazers with 15 markers, but it was the consistent performance of the Middle Blocker that mattered. Coach Cariño said of Musa, “siya talaga yung nakikita kong dapat magstep up.” Suyat soared highest for the Lady Altas with 15 points.

With the win, the Lady Blazers takes on defending champions Arellano University Lady Chiefs on Friday for another knockout match for the chance to challenge undefeated San Sebastian College Lady Stags in the Finals. The AU-CSB semifinal match is slated at 4pm at the same venue.

The Scores:
CSB (3) – Navarro 15, Musa 15, Panaga 11, Daguil 8, Santillan 7, Cheng 4, Austero 0, Lim 0, Dolorito 0, Borrero 0, Torres (L).
UPHSD (1) – Suyat 15, Bravo 11, Clemente 7, Imbo 6, Diocareza 5, Medalla 2, Versoza 1, Gual 1, Umandal 0, Gayo 0, Rosal 0, Condada (L), Calleja (L).

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Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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