The San Sebastian College-Recoletos Lady Stags barged into the next round of the 2016 Shakey’s V-League Collegiate Conference with a tight five-set win over the pesky Technological Institute of the Philippines Lady Engineers, 25-22, 13-25, 25-18, 16-25, 15-17, at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig.
The first two sets belonged to the team that served better. San Sebastian pulled away early in the first set, 17-10, thanks to a string of good serves from numerous players. The Lady Engineers mounted a comeback with the Lady Stags at set point, getting to within two, 22-24, after a Chi Saet drop ball. The NCAA runners-up, however, ended the set with a combination play.
TIP took the momentum from the near comeback and bolted out of the second set gate. The Lady Engineers mounted a 16-7 lead and never looked back as the Lady Stags failed to pass consistently.
The Lady Stags controlled the second set with terrific defense, keeping points alive and frustrating TIP’s attackers. After a string of errors, the Lady Engineers had sunk, 10-16, and surrendered the set later on. TIP stayed tough in the fourth set, breaking through the Lady Stags’ defense and a slim 19-17 lead to seal the set with a 6-1 flurry.
“Wala kaming pressure sana sa paglalaro. Pero kailangan sana may momentum kami papasok sa next round kaya kinailangan din namin manalo,” said Lady Stags’ assistant coach Clint Malazo. “Kahit papaano, okay na din na umabot ng five sets para maramdaman namin ‘yung gaanong situation.”
Two-time NCAA MVP and reigning SVL Open Conference MVP Grethcel Soltones poured in a season-high 28 points off 26 attacks and two blocks. Kath Villegas and Denice Lim each provided 11 points.
TIP guest player and Adamson Lady Falcon Mylene Paat tallied 17 points, while Alyssa Layug added 13.
At 3-1, the Lady Stags finished Group A action with a record good enough to secure a top-three spot. The Lady Engineers, who finished at 2-2, are assured of at least a playoff for the next round depending on how the final matches of their group turn out.
SSC-R (3) – Soltones 28, Lim 11, Villegas 11, Sta. Rita 10, Santos 8, Encarnacion 2, Pingoy 1, Dalisay 0, Guillema 0, Oliveros 0, Cruz (L), Eroa (L)
TIP (2) – Paat 17, Layug 13, Maturan 10, Saet 7, Fidel 6, Mabayao 4, Espinosa 3, Openiano (L), Soliva (L)