Losing an ace spiker, main setter, and a starting middle blocker in a flurry might spell doom to the start of a campaign for back-to-back title.
Nonetheless, Isaah Arda and the rest of the College of Saint Benilde would not have any of such problems after the Blazers pounced on the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights in three sets, 25-12, 25-21, 21-18.
The new skipper paced the defending champions with 17 points, 13 coming from attacks. While middle blocker Jethro Orian finished with 13 points off 10 spikes and three blocks.
Saint Benilde started strong with their service game to pocket the first set, but errors almost cost them the second frame. Letran led by as much four at 20-16 before Arda and Orian took over to steal the set, setting up the sweep.
“Masaya. Kasi may sumpa kami first game, usually umaabot ng fifth set o natatalo kami,” the senior winger Arda said of the win. “Na-break namin siya ngayon.”
Christopher Cristina and Ken Almoguerra each had nine points to lead the Knights. Skipper and ace spiker Bobby Gatdula was limited to just six.
The reigning champions (1-0) will take their first real test as they face the Lyceum of the Philippines University on Thursday, January 11. On the other hand, Gatdula and the rest of the Knights (0-1) just have few to days to regroup before tackling Mapua University (0-1) on Monday, January 8.
CSB 3 – Arda 17, Orian 13, Bacani 9, Basilan 6, Rojas 4, Magsino 2, Bautista 2, Martinez 1, Saldavia 0, De Sequerra 0, Garcia 0, Dy L.
CSJL 0 – Cistina 9, Almoguerra 9, Gatdula 6, Ladeon 5, Alipio 4, Tumbali 0, Ramos 0, Timbreza L, Centeno L.