The San Beda College Lady Red Spikers had to dig deep to outlast the upset-hungry Mapua Institute of Technology Lady Cardinals in five sets, 25-16, 25-15, 22-25, 20-25, 15-9, to boost their playoffs hopes Friday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The hard-hitting Cesca Racraquin paced the Mendiola-based spikers with 16 points, including the last two spikes that sent them to match point.
San Beda threatened to snatch the game early, pouncing on the defensive lapses of the Cardinals to dominate the first two sets and take the 2-0 lead.
Playing with no pressure, the Intramuros-based squad tightened up their defense in the third set. This commitment on defense fuelled the Cardinals, led by Jela Peña, who finished the match with 13 markers, to force a deciding set.
Racraquin admitted that they had been caught off guard and underestimated the opponents.
“Masyado po kaming relaxed eh. Minaliit yung kalaban kasi alam naman na hindi ganun kaganda standing ng Mapua, masyado naming kinaya-kaya,” she added.
Head coach Nemesio Gavino also used second stringers in the third set, which might have been a factor. However, the mentor shared that, “Kasi yung mga second stringers ko, gusto kong bigyan ng kumpiyansa. Hindi naman puwedeng umasa sa first six lang.”
Nonetheless, the white-shirts summoned their maturity and experience to open up the decider on a good note.
Setter Rebecca Cuevas utilized her middle attackers Yanni Espiritu and Criselle Amador to put San Beda in the lead at 8-2.
The Cardinals tried to come back, but the resilience of the Red Spikers prevailed in the end, as Cuevas sealed their sixth win in style with a smart dump.
Gavino stressed that they are focused on the task at hand after getting that playoff berth.
“Masaya kami na nakapasok sa playoffs pero mas magiging masaya kami pag nasa Final Four,” added. “Kami, kahit sino [makalaban], basta ready lang kami.”
“Kasi ayaw ko rin umasa sa ibang teams eh, gusto namin paghirapan yung panalo. If may playoffs, sige. If wala, bonus na siguro sa amin.”
The San Beda Lady Red Spikers (6-3) now await the fates of the Benilde Lady Blazers (6-2), the Perpetual Lady Altas (4-3), and the Lyceum Lady Pirates (5-3) to complete the post-season picture. The Mapua Lady Cardinals finish in last place with a 0-9 slate.
SBC 3 – C. Racraquin 16, Espiritu 13, Cuevas 9, Amador 9, N. Viray 9, J. Viray 5, Domingo 2, Laguna 1, Manuel 0, Tannagan 0, D. Racraquin L, Zamudio L.
MIT 2 – Peña 13, Latayan 10, Ramilo 10, Guardian 9, Frando 5, Sedenio 4, Aquino 0, Racelis 0, Hermano 0, Luzon L.