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Cesca Racraquin, Nieza Viray prove clutch as San Beda escapes JRU in NCAA 95

Cesca Racraquin and Nieza Viray pulled San Beda University out of danger, slipping past Jose Rizal University in a five-set escape act, 25-17, 22-25, 25-27, 25-14, 15-6, in the NCAA Season 95 Women’s Volleyball Tournament, Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Staring at a 1-2 set deficit following a third-set meltdown, the Lady Red Spikers staged a furious comeback behind Racraquin and Viray to kickstart their campaign on the right track.

“Alam ko naman ‘yung mga bata, ‘yung maturity nila andiyan, so [may] tiwala ako sa kanila. Kailangan lang talaga magtulong-tulong kami at ‘yung communication sa court hindi mawawala,” San Beda head coach Nemesio Gavino jr. said.

Racraquin and Viray battered the Lady Bombers with one differential hit after another, as San Beda sprinted out of the fifth set’s gates with searing momentum, 9-3. JRU scrambled for an answer with May Ruiz and Dolly Versoza connecting on separate occasions to keep their team alive.

But Viray and Racraquin swiftly restored order for San Beda, before Lyn Laurente and Versoza coughed out attack errors down the stretch. With a 14-6 edge in hand and a win within reach for the Lady Red Spikers, Lynne Matias and Kim Manzano then connived for the match-clinching quick attack.

“Noong fourth and then fifth set, sabi ko, ‘Let’s slow down’. Kasi ‘yun ‘yung naging problem namin noong second and third, minamadali natin na dapat ganito lang tayo maglaro,” said Racraquin, who serves as San Beda’s skipper this season.

“‘Pag ganito tayo maglaro, nakukuha natin lahat ng palo nila at nakakapwesto tayo ng maayos. Nakaka-block tayo kasi hindi tayo nagmamadali,” she continued.

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Racraquin, a fourth-year open spiker, scintillated with a game-high 24 points. She hammered down 20 attacks and three service aces, all while collecting 22 excellent digs for a masterful double-double performance.

Nieza also had a stellar all-around outing. She uncorked 21 markers, with all but a point coming from attacks, while delivering the goods on the defensive end with 12 excellent receptions.

Manzano made her presence felt behind the heavy-hitting duo, providing four of her team’s eight blocks en route to 15 points. Trisha Paras chimed in 11 markers, as graduating libero Daryl Racraquin notched 30 excellent digs and 11 excellent receptions.

San Beda playmaker Matias generated the offense to the tune of 21 excellent sets. Unfortunately, though,  her costly decision-making late in the third set that put her team in a tough situation.

“‘Yung third set, ‘yung decision-making nawala kami sa bandang dulo. Dapat sa kanila pero napunta pa sa kalaban kaya napatagal ‘yung game namin,” Gavino pointed out.

San Beda had the upper hand when it comes to offense, dominating JRU in attacks (66-45), blocks (8-5), and aces (7-3). But the Lady Red Spikers gave up a lot of free points, racking up 36 errors to the Lady Bombers’ 31.

“‘Yun nga, JRU maganda rin talaga ginawa nila eh, habang kami may mga dapat ayusin. Sa paningin ng tao maganda ‘yung laban, pero para sa amin hindi. Pero nagpapasalamat ako kasi mga bata, hindi nagpapatalo ‘yang mga ‘yan. ‘Yung experience talaga nandoon, nakita ko sa game,” Gavino acknowledged.

Versoza and Ruiz carried the cudgels for JRU. The former had 16 points laced with 13 digs and 12 receptions for a triple-double that went down the drain. Meanwhile, the latter pummeled 14 markers in a losing cause.

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San Beda shall next face San Sebastian on Tuesday, January 21. Meanwhile, JRU will seek to bounce back against Arellano on Thursday, January 23. Both matches will be played at the same venue.

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