Already out of the semifinals picture, the College of Saint Benilde Lady Blazers played a spoiler role in defeating the reigning NCAA champion Arellano University Lady Chiefs 23-25, 25-27, 25-23, 25-23, 15-10 to end their quarterfinals campaign on a bright note in the Shakeys V-League Collegiate Conference at the FilOil Flying V Arena,Sunday afternoon.
Playing with the urgency to force a playoff against the University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses for the last semifinals slot, the Lady Chiefs relied on Menchie Tubiera and Elaine Sagun on the latter part of the tight first set to lift Arellano against the pesky Benilde squad.
In the second set both teams played nip and tuck volleyball once more. The Lady Blazers’ first tasted set point with Jeanetter Panaga scoring a drop shot for a 24-23 lead. Tubiera answered back with a quick hit to put things back at 24, luckily for the Lady Chiefs CJ Rosario and Shirley Salamagos stepped up to dispatched the Lady Blazers in the set.
The Lady Blazers started its comeback in the third set. With the Lady Chiefs leading 22-19 Navarro bailed out the Lady Blazers down the stretch as she scored through the block to extend the match for the Taft based squad.
Navarro, despite suffering a shoulder injury, started to let her presence felt in the fourth set as she led the Lady Blazers’ comeback. Still the Lady Chiefs were able to take a 23-22 lead , but Navarro scored off the block to tie the set. Things did not go well for Arellano, as setter Angelica Legacion committed an error to put Benilde at set point, 24-23. and Navarro once again ended the set in blocking Rosario to force a fifth and deciding set.
Errors from the Lady Chiefs allowed the Lady Blazers to create some separation in the deciding set for 8-5 lead despite the efforts of Tubiera, Sagun and Danna Henson to keep Arellano afloat. The Lady Blazers once again relied on Navarro in clutch moments to stop the comeback attempt of the Lady Chiefs.
After the game Lady Blazers Head Coach Michael Carino said , to end the losing skid in the V-League and to a message to the reigning NCAA champion the Lady Chiefs in the upcoming NCAA volleyball season are they motivators.
“Sobrang drought from 2-0 [elimination], sobrang talo kami, kaya sinabi ko sa team na natalo natin sila sa NCAA last season dapat gulihin natin sila,” Carino said.
Navarro powered the Lady Blazers with 31 points, 26 points coming from attacks while Panaga contributed 10 markers.
Tubiera finished with 24 points together with seven excellent digs for Arellano while Henson and Rosario chipped 13 markers apiece.
The Lady Blazers finished the quarterfinals campaign with one win and six losses while the Lady Chiefs had a three and four win-loss record.
The victory of the Lady Blazers also gave the UST Golden Tigresses a free passage to the semifinals as number four seed. The Golden Tigresses will begin their semi finals series against the number one seed, the UAAP champion Ateneo Lady Eagles on September 12 at 12:45 PM while defending Collegiate conference champion Far Eastern University Tamaraws tangle with National University Lady Bulldogs in another semi finals pairing at 3:00 PM at the same day and venue.
CSB (3) – Navarro 31, Panaga 10, Musa 7, Torres 6, Dolorito 4, Daguil 4, Cheng 3, Austero 3, Ventura 1, Borrero 0, Santillan 0, Lim (L), Enclona (L)
AU (2) – Tubiera 24, Henson 13, Rosario 13, Salamagos 10, Legacion 5, Aganon 4,Sagun 3, Carino 1, Prado 1,Ramirez 0, Mabbayad 0, Galang (L)