It was a thrilling five-set match-up between College of Saint Benilde and Lyceum of the Philippines University in the NCAA Season 98 Seniors Volleyball Tournament. In the end, the defending champions Lady Blazers outlasted the gallant Lady Pirates, 22-25, 25-16, 16-25, 25-13, 15-9, at the San Andres Sports Complex on Saturday.
The Lady Blazers started slow in the first set but managed to recover in the fifth set to secure the win. Assistant coach Jay Chua admitted that the game was a wake-up call for the team, as all opposing teams are eager to beat them.
“Sobra, siguro lahat talaga naman ng teams pinaghahadaan kami. So, ayun parang wake-up call na namin ‘to kasi lahat ng teams talaga gusto kami talunin,” Chua said.
Despite the grueling five sets, CSB is determined to prepare more for their remaining games.
The Lady Blazers started the fifth set strong with a 6-1 run, thanks to a block from Gayle Pascual. The Lady Pirates managed to cut the deficit to two, 7-9, but CSB did not let them recover.
Rookie Jessa Dorog brought the match to a set point,14-9, followed by Pascual’s down-the-line hit to seal the win.
Jade Gentapa led the Lady Blazers with 22 points on 21 attacks, including a service ace and 15 excellent digs. Pascual notched 20 points on 18 attacks, while team captain Cloanne Mondoñedo chipped in 10 points and 25 excellent sets.
On the other side, Joan Doguna and Johna Dolorito led the Lady Pirates with 18 points each, while Janeth Tulang contributed 17 points.
CSB remains undefeated with a 5-0 record, while Lyceum dropped to 3-2.
In the second game of the day, Mapua University overcame a slow start to defeat Arellano University in the fifth set, 21-25, 19-25, 25-23, 25-21, 15-11.
The Lady Cardinals took over the game after a setback in the first two sets. Head coach Clarence Esteban was confident that his players could handle the game well, as they were used to having fifth-set games.
“Actually parang used na kami sa limang set e. So, nung umabot na kami sa [fifth set] parang comfortable ako kasi sanay na ‘yung players ko maglaro ng limang sets. So, talaga kumpyansa ako na makukuha namin ‘yung game ngayon,” he said.
With an 11-9 advantage, Arellano’s Laika Tudlasan reduced the deficit to one point. However, Mapua initiated a 4-0 run capped by the Lady Chief’s error of two touches from Nicole Ong’s service to make the match to a set point. Grace Cabadin then finished the game with her off-the-block kill.
Rookie Roxie Dela Cruz led Mapua with 19 points built on 17 attacks, including two aces, 23 excellent digs, and eight excellent receptions. Cabadin scored 15 points on 15 attacks, while Ong contributed 12 points on five blocks.
Meanwhile, Tudlasan had a game-high 23 points on 21 attacks and two aces, including 13 excellent digs that all went for naught for the Lady Chiefs.
Marianne Padillon contributed 17 points, while Trina Abay and Janice Manuntag contributed 15 and 11 points, respectively.
Mapua improved its slate to 4-1 while Arellano dropped to a 3-2 win-loss record