The journey to another Cinderella finish begins for the defending NCAA women’s volleyball champions De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde Lady Blazers.
And what better way to start it off but with a torching of the young San Beda College Lady Red Spikers in straight sets, 25-22, 25-20, 25-15, to move on the stepladder semifinals, Tuesday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Middle hitter Ranya Musa registered 15 points to stand the tallest for the reigning champs. Team skipper Jeanette Panaga and Rachel Austero followed suit with 11 markers each.
Both teams finished with 33 attacks, but the Blazers dominated at the net with 11 blocks.
Reception problems hounded the Lady Red Spikers throughout the match, although it was more evident in that final set. If not for the heads up play of Cesca Racraquin and Nieza Viray for San Beda, it could have been a bigger blowout.
The white-shirts also got some lifeline off Saint Benilde’s errors, which is something the latter’s head coach Macky Cariño took notice of.
“Pero kung gusto namin mag-champion like last year, dapat hindi ganito galawin namin. Kasi nagbibigay pa rin kami, lalamang kami tapos hahabol yung kalaban,” he shared. “Every point is important, hindi dapat namin tinatapon yun.”
The champion mentor also stressed that, “Kung gusto namin mag-champion dapat hindi kami mag-relax. Yung mga susunod namin na kalaban hindi parang Beda, yung dalawang natitira malalakas. Yung aggressiveness, yung passion dapat nandun.”
Racraquin ended with 11 markers to lead the Lady Red Spikers, which finished in fourth this season.
The reigning queens Lady Blazers will try to extend their championship defense when they face the second-seeded Arellano Lady Chiefs on Friday, February 3. This time, however, the Legarda side has a twice-to-beat advantage.
“Meron pang tatlong araw para makalaban namin sila. Kung ano yung preparation namin dati, ganun pa rin ang gagawin namin,” Cariño ended.
CSB 3 – Musa 15, Panaga 11, Austero 11, Enginco 9, Daguil 3, Cardiente 1, Lim 0, Torres L.
SBC 0 – C Racraquin 11, N Viray 8, Espiritu 7, Amador 5, J Viray 2, Tannagan 1, Cuevas 0, Manuel 0, Garcia 0, D Racraquin L, Zamudio L.