First goal attained
Reigning back-to-back NCAA women’s volleyball champions Arellano University stamped their class in dominant fashion over the Emilio Aguinaldo College Lady Generals, needing just less than hour, 25-19, 25-11, 25-8, Monday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Perhaps recovering from rust from the holiday break, the Lady Chiefs were uncharacteristically sluggish in the opening set, pouring most of their 20 errors in the said frame.
However, head coach Obet Javier knows that the Legarda-based squad just needed to regroup saying, “Ni-remind ko lang sa mga bata kung ano goal namin sa larong ‘to.”
And knowing of the importance of getting this win on a high, the reigning queens buckled down to work even as setter and captain Sarah Verutiao took on the reigns of orchestrating the offense from seasoned senior Rhea Ramirez. With everything on point, the spikers did their job with senior wing hitter Regine Arocha leading with 14 markers on nine attacks, four aces, and a block.
Verutiao ended with 14 excellent sets off the bench, while Ramirez added six, despite some so-so reception from the rest of the squad.
Case in point, Javier emphasized the importance of the victory and the way they wrapped it up. “Gusto kong tumaas ‘yung morale ng mga bata.”
All Arellano players were fielded in this game and all but two scored. Moreover, aside from Arocha, last year’s Rookie of the Year Necole Ebuen also ended with nine points to lead the support cast. To this coach Javier was delighted, “Ayaw namin na matutok sa opensa, dapat meron ring depensa. Gusto namin ‘di kami naka-base sa isang position o isang skill lang.”
Pushing their win-loss record to 7-0, the Lady Chiefs bagged the first seat to the Final Four. Nevertheless, they, of course, wanted to ensure their place in the final.
Moreso because their next opponents University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Lady Altas clinched its fourth win in six outings and are in the thick for the hunt for the other semis berths in the second game
The Las Pinas-based squad bucked some rust and dismantled an inspired Mapua University Lady Cardinals, 25-22, 25-17, 25-15.
Necelle Gual and the rest of the Lady Altas also had to deal with the absence of injured captain Bianca Tripoli on the court in the first set to survive the Lady Cardinals. However, when Tripoli stepped on the orange part of the tarpaulin, the maroon-and-white-clad squad was all business.
Wing hitters Cindy Imbo and Hannah Suico, who started in Tripoli’s stead, led the Altas with 12 and 11 markers, respectively.
The Perps-Arellano duel is scheduled on January 10, Thursday at 2 pm. On the other hand, the Lady Generals (0-8) will close their season against the Lyceum of the Philippines University Lady Pirates on the following day at 12 noon, while the 1-6 Lady Cardinals face the 1-6 Colegio de San Juan de Letran on Thursday at 12 noon.
AU 3 – Arocha 14, Ebuen 9, Bello 7, Juanich 5, Donato 5, Ramirez 3, Verutiao 2, San Gregorio 2, Abay 1, Gaigo 1, Torres 0, Daisog 0, Flores L, Buemia L.
EAC 0 – Lumbo 9, Magsino 3, Almazan 2, Cabrera 2, Piano 1, Cancio 0, Tasis 0, Mangaring 0, Medina L, Landicho L.
UPHSD 3 – Imbo 12, Suico 11, Verzosa 8, Umandal 7, Gaviola 3, Castillo 3, Padua 2, Gual 1, Llorente 1, Tripoli 1, Scott 0, Rosal 0, Dayao L, Sangalang L.
MU 0 – Morano 8, Barias 6, Magallanes 5, Fernandez 4, Magundayao 2, Obenita 1, Alavarado 0, Sy 0, Gaudian 0, Ortega L.