“Pinilit ko talaga ‘yung mga bata na makapasok kami, kasi lahat ng nakapasok ng semis [last year] tinalo kami. So, ang challenge ko is lahat ng ‘to kaya nating bawian.”
Head coach Michael Carino uttered these words to the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA. The Altas then heeded the challenge, as they took down last year’s nemesis Jose Rizal University Lady Bombers in four sets, 25-13, 19-25, 25-21, 25-14, and claimed the last semifinals slot this season, Thursday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
As expected, it was seniors Cindy Imbo and Bianca Tripoli who did most of the scoring, ending up 18 and 14 points respectively. However, as Carino noted and as was evident throughout the match, it was fifth-year setter Necelle Gual who drove them to the next round, finishing with 25 excellent sets.
The Lady Altas stormed out of the gates, coming out aggressive and explosive both on offense and defense in that opening. But with the adjustments by the Lady Bombers on service and reception, the match was eventually knotted at a set apiece.
That gave Carino another opportunity to present another dare to his wards. “‘Pag natalo tayo, tanggal. It is as simple as that. It is a matter of choice,” he told the team before third set.
And despite some resistance from JRU, Perpetual were able to hold their ground and finally took control of the match to the eventual victory.
Dolly Verzosa finished with 17 markers for the Lady Bombers.
When asked on their semifinals match against the College of Saint Benilde – a squad on an outstanding eight-game winning streak – Carino shared that, “Maganda ‘yun (pertaining to CSB’s streak) kasi papasok [rin] kami na mataas ‘yung morale namin. Plus sila, galing sila ‘dun sa mahabang winning streak. Ang tamang [paraan] lang ‘dun is paghahanda.”
UPHSD 3 – Imbo 18, Tripoli 14, Rosal 13, Umandal 13, Gaviola 6, Scott 5, Suico 2, Castillo 0, Verzosa 0, Llorente 0, Dayao L, Sangalang L.
JRU 1 – Verzosa 17, Montojo 11, Melgar 6, Rose 4, Niegos 3, Rivera 2, Sibangan 0, Huit L, Aquino L.