The Arellano University Chiefs almost squandered a 2-1 advantage, but eventually blasted the defending champions College of Saint Benilde Blazers, 17-25, 25-15, 25-16, 22-25, 15-8, Monday evening at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
John Cabillan led the tribe with 17 points off attacks and the match-clinching ace. Fellow outside hitter Christian Dela Paz registered 16 markers, two of them aces.
The Chiefs had to overhaul a 6-8 deficit in the deciding set, despite starting the frame on fire at 5-0 with Dela Paz on serve.
It was Cabillan who provided the spark on the service line, ultimately ending the Blazers’ hopes of a turnaround and sealing their seventh win of the season.
“Lalo pa naming tinatagan ‘yung service namin, ‘yung sa receive, as blocks. Sumunod lang din kami sa utos ni coach,” Dela Paz commented on their adjustments in the fifth set.
The Taft-based squad led both attacks and serves, but it was the timing of these scoring skills for the Chiefs that mattered in the end.
With their sights set on nothing but the title, Dela Paz believes that they just need to continue what they have been doing so far. The former University of the Philippines Fighting Maroon said, “Maintain lang ‘yung galaw. Maayos ‘yung galaw hanggang Finals.”
Skipper Isaah Arda paced the Blazers at 21 points.
Arellano (7-1) will take on the San Sebastian College (2-5) on Thursday. Saint Benilde (5-2) will face the Mapua University (also at 5-2) in a crucial match with semifinals implications, later that day.
AU 3 – Cabillan 17, Dela Paz 16, Segovia 12, Liberato K 10, Lapuz 7, Meneses 3, Liberato J 2, Arellano T 0, Arellano K 0, Soriano 0, Esguerra L, Blanco L.
CSB 2 – Arda 21, Orian 14, Bacani 10, Basilan 10, Bautista 9, Magsino 4, Garcia 1, Martinez 1, Saldavia 0, Dy L.