The San Sebastian College-Recoletos Lady Stags move to a win away from elimination round sweep and automatic Finals berth, demolishing Lyceum of the Philippines University Lady Pirates in straight sets, 25-21, 25-19, 25-17, Monday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The defeat sent Lyceum packing their bags after finishing at 5-4.
Reigning MVP Gretchel Soltones racked up 13 points, 12 off attacks and a service ace. Joyce Sta. Rita also finished with 13 markers.
Needing this match to keep their season alive, the Intramuros-based ladies took the initiative against the undefeated Stags. Nonetheless, the latter inched closer and eventually stole the first set win.
From there the Lady Stags increasingly grasped command of the match, getting the offensive groove going from everyone in the court.
San Sebastian head coach Roger Gorayeb admitted their slow start, because “meron kasi kaming ginagawa.”
“Very critical yung ka-diagonal ni Gretchel eh, kasi pag hindi gumana yun, malaking problema yun, like last year,” the multi-time NCAA champion coach furthered.
The seasoned mentor utilized both Nikka Dalisay and Denice Lim to fill up that crucial position. The two combined for only seven markers.
It was, however, the heads up playing of middle blockers Sta. Rita and Kat Villegas that made the difference. These center attackers finished with 22 points in total,
Going into their last elims assignment against the defending champions Saint Benilde Lady Blazers, Gorayeb feels that they have some sort of mental edge.
“Malaking bagay, kasi kami buo, sila hindi. Sila nag-struggle, kami naman relaxed kami going into Wednesday’s game. So, psychologically, may advantage kami,” he shared.
The rematch of last year’s Finals between the Lady Stags and the Lady Blazers is scheduled on Wednesday, January 25.
SSC-R 3 – Soltones 13, Sta. Rita 13, Villegas 9, Encarnacion 7, Lim 5, Santos 4, Dalisay 2, Guillema 1, Eroa L.
LPU 0 – Miralles 7, Orros 6, Sindayen 6, Sevilla 5, Fabay 2, Hongria 2, Tizon 0, Carramanzana L, Inton L.