What a day for the College of Saint Benilde Lady Blazers to come alive.
The Taft-based ensemble breathed life into their semifinals hopes as they toppled the erstwhile-undefeated defending champions Arellano University Lady Chiefs, 25-21, 25-20, 19-25, 25-12, Monday afternoon.
The win put Benilde at 4-3, good enough to still clinch at least a playoff berth.
Interim head coach Arnold Laniog shared that they had used the days leading up to the match to prepare hard for the Lady Chiefs. He reminded the girls, “Tong Arellano will be gunning for a sweep, and at the same time sila ‘yung defending champions. Mag-iiba talaga yung identity nila sa court.”
“Pero once na magawa naming mag-start ng maganda, pwedeng maiba,” the former Blazer emphasized.
The former champs heeded the advice and went on a run to snag the first set, and never deviated from the plan after that.
Arellano took some lease of life and saved their sweep dreams by winning the third set; nonetheless, with the consistency of their game plan, it was all Benilde in that fourth frame.
Graduating team captain Ranya Musa torched the opponents with 17 points, five of them on blocks. Fellow middle blocker Rachel Austero finished with 15 markers, as transferees Klarisa Abriam and Marites Pablo plucked 13 each.
With Musa and Austero leading the way, Benilde registered 10 blocks. Moreover, the team also capitalized on Arellano’s reception woes with 11 aces.
Jovielyn Prado led the Legarda-based squad with 14 points.
The Lady Blazers (4-3) will face the also-ran Mapua University (0-7) on Thursday, February 1. The Lady Chiefs (7-1) will battle with the San Sebastian College Recolletos (5-2) earlier that day.
CSB 3 – Musa 17, Austero 15, Abriam 13, Pablo 13, Ventura 5, Cardiente 2, Enginco 1, Cui 1, Daguil 0, Torres L, Lim L.
AU 1 – Prado 14, Ebuen 12, Marzan 9, Arocha 8, Esguerra 4, Ramirez 2, Verutiao 1, Bello 0, Donato 0, Balanoba 0, Flores L, Buemia L.