For the third year in a row, the road to an NCAA title goes through Arellano University.
They looked vulnerable last week after absorbing their first loss of Season 94. But the Lady Chiefs regained their impervious luster after walloping the San Beda University Lady Red Spikers in the semifinals.
What was a five-set loss last week to the same team turned into a quick drubbing. The two-time defending champs again look primed to turn into three-peat queens.
“‘Yung last game namin sa San Beda, talagang nagulat din kami, kumbaga. So after ng game namin, nagkaroon kami talaga ng adjustment. Kumbaga, talagang pinagpaguran namin yung practice eh. Almost one week ang preparation namin para makabawi,” said Arellano head coach Obet Javier.
The Lady Chiefs could have had another elimination round sweep, but entry to the Finals is as much as they can ask for.
“Simula talagang gusto namin talagang ma-sweep eh. Pero siguro talagang binigyan kami ng challenge na, yun nga, nangyari nga ang Final Four,” added Javier.
“So sinabi ko lang sa bata na kalimutan na ‘yung elimination. Mas importante yung semis ngayon, yung Final Four nga.”
The best indication that Arellano are hitting their stride is veteran Regine Arocha. Season 94 had been challenging for the fourth year winger, as she entered the tournament coming off a knee injury.
However, the Season 93 Finals MVP found her form against San Beda, tallying 17 whopping points. That she hobbled into the season seems like a thing of the past now.
“Bilang senior talagang siya ang tinitingnan ko eh. So kahit papaano yung seniority niya, andoon na. Kumbaga, umaangat na eh. So nararamdaman ko na yung presence ni Arocha ngayon,” said Javier of Arocha.
“Naging lesson sa amin, na galingan pa namin, para hindi na po namin ulit maramdaman yung ganoong pakiramdam,” Arocha firmly concluded.
“Kaya sobrang nagpapasalamat din po kami sa Beda, kasi natuto kami.”