College of Saint Benilde marched to the V-League Women’s Collegiate Challenge finals in ferocious form, dispatching University of the East in straight-set fashion for the second straight time, 25-21, 25-13, 25-10, in their semifinal duel at the Paco Arena in Manila on Friday.
Skipper Clo Mondoñedo put up a brilliant all-around performance, finishing with 15 excellent sets that led to 49 attack points for the NCAA back-to-back champions and a huge 20-point difference over the Lady Warriors’ output.
“Naging relaxed sila this time, probably because lagi nilang nakakasama ‘yung UE,” said CSB head coach Jerry Yee, who coincidentally is also with UE squad. The two squads are backed by Strong Group Athletics.
The Lady Blazers, who toppled the Lady Warriors, 25-22, 25-13, 25-12, in the opener of their best-of-three series last Wednesday, thus surpassed their bronze-medal finish last season although they will still have to wait a little longer for their rivals for the crown.
This after Far Eastern U got back at University of Perpetual Help System DALTA, 23-25, 25-23, 25-17, 25-13, to force a sudden death for the other championship slot in the tournament organized by Sports Vision and sponsored by Bola.TV, Beyond Active Wear, Asics and Mikasa.
“Good thing is we have an extra day off. Yun ‘yung advantage namin sa (makakalaban namin sa finals),” added Yee.
Gayle Pascual came away with 13 points, including 12 on attacks while Zam Nolasco dominated the net and slammed in 12 kills.
Earlier, The Lady Tamaraws never flinched despite dropping Game One and the first set, coming out on top of a tight second set battle then blasting the Lady Altas in the next two to carve out a key four-set victory.
The Lady Tamaraws fought back from a tough first set loss with a gutsy stand in the next then went to Chenie Tagaod in the clutch to finish off the Lady Altas and send their series to a deciding game on Sunday.
Perpetual Help surprised FEU in a fiercely-fought Game One duel, 25-21, 28-26, 26-24, with the Las Piñas-based squad looked poised to completing the sweet after snaring the opening set in Game Two.
But the Lady Altas faltered at the end of the second frame, enabling the Lady Tamaraws to regain their confidence and gather momentum with Tagaod leading their assault with a 25-hit exploit, including 23 kills and two aces.
“We prepared hard for this one. We reviewed our lapses the first time out and the girls responded to the challenge so we were able to get this comeback win,” said FEU interim coach Manolo Refugia in Filipino.
Keisha Bedonia added 16 points while playmaker Tin Ubaldo anchored the Lady Tamaraws’ offense with 18 excellent sets.