Defending NCAA women’s volleyball champions Arellano University Lady Chiefs faced adversity for the first time this season. But champions thrive in difficult situations.
The Lady Chiefs showed the proverbial heart of a champion, shrugging off a sluggish first set to stop the upset of the feisty University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Lady Altas, 18-25, 25-16, 25-19, 26-24, and clinch their eighth straight win of the season, Thursday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The win puts the reigning queens a victory closer to the championship series.
Necole Abuen and Regine Arocha provided the power in the wings as they finished with 16 and 11 points, respectively. Princess Bello added nine markers despite some sluggish stretches.
Head coach Obet Javier rued their slow start, but knew his wards had it in them to bounce back. He shared, “Nasimulan kasi namin ng bad error, tapos nagsunud-sunod na.
“Tiwala naman kami sa mga bata. Buti nakabawi sila. Pero kahit tiwala kami sa kanila, laro pa rin yan,” the decorated mentor added.
It was Arellano’s problems on service and reception that cost them the first set. But at the crucial stretches of the following sets, when the Lady Chiefs’ first ball delivery was on point, it was a smooth conversion in transition. And despite Perpetual’s good showing at the net with 10 blocks, the defending champions still finished with 40 attacks.
Javier reiterated the importance of the win; nonetheless, he also emphasized that their campaign is not yet finished.
“[Sweep] talaga ang gusto namin this season; [at] yung makatuntong na kami ng Finals. Pero may game pa rin kami against Beda. Eh alam natin na [high-]caliber sila. Iba rin magiging laro sa Beda,” he added.
Earlier in the afternoon, the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Lady Knights outlasted the Mapua University Lady Cardinals in a grueling five-setter, 14-25, 26-24, 23-25, 25-17, 15-13, to carve their third win in the tournament.
Team captain and middle hitter Miracle Mendoza paced the blue-shirts with 21 points, as they overpowered the Cards 60-50 on attacks, despite the all starting spikers for Mapua scoring on double digits. That result came in the light of a huge defensive clinic shown by both sides on a combined 226 digs.
The Lady Chiefs will face last year’s Finals opponents San Beda University (7-1) on the lone women’s match on Tuesday, January 15, at 4 pm. Meanwhile, the Lady Altas (4-3) will battle the San Sebastian College Recolletos for a possible slot in the semifinals in the previous day at 12 noon.
On the other hand, the Lady Knights (3-5) and the Lady Cards (1-7) close their respective seasons against Lyceum of the Philippines University and College of Saint Benilde on Thursday, January 17 and Monday, January 14, both at 2 pm.
CSJL 3 – Mendoza 21, Dela Cruz 18, Larioque 11, Urriza 10, Urmeneta 6, Cunada 2, Musngi 0, Parin 0, Santos 0, Angeles L, Sagbigsal L.
MU 2 – Morano 15, Magundayao 14, Fernandez 14, Barias 10, Gaudan 3, Alvarado 1, Obenita 1, Sanchez 0, Ortega L.
AU 3 – Ebuen 16, Arocha 11, Bello 9, Donato 7, Verutiao 5, Juanich 4, Ramirez 2, San Gregorio 0, Flores L, Buemia L.
UPHSD 1– Imbo 13, Gaviola 9, Verzosa 7, Umandal 5, Rosal 5, Suico 4, Gual 3, Tripoli 2, Scott 1, Castillo 0, Dayao L, Sangalang L.
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