For the second straight year, San Sebastian College-Recoletos are on the verge missing the Final Four.
The semifinals-bound College of Saint Benilde Lady Blazers stopped the Lady Stags in three dominant sets, 25-17, 25-16, 25-14, to stay in the hunt for one of the possible twice-to-beat advantages, or the semifinals bye, Friday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The match did not reach its hour mark. Rachel Austero was dominant for the Taft-based squad in the middle with 13 points off 10 attacks, two blocks, and a service ace. The heads-up play-making of Jewel Lai also shone with 21 excellent sets, which turned garbage into gold in some stretches of the match.
For head coach Jerry Yee, the squad is far from the top, as he wants consistency from his wards. “Yung slow start, pati meron pa kaming small errors na dapat ayusin. Ang gusto namin ma-polish, makita yung improvements.
“Pero okay naman yung ganun. Ibig sabihin meron pa tayong mga aayusin.”
The Lady Blazers capitalized on San Sebastian’s passing woes throughout the match, but it was the latter’s errors that sealed their doom.
Maryrhose Dapol and captain Joyce Sta. Rita finished with eight points apiece for the Recto-based squad.
Earlier in the afternoon, the Lyceum of the Philippine University Lady Pirates took advantage of the lapses of the Emilio Aguinaldo College Lady Generals in the tail-end of the third set to snag the frame and, ultimately, the match.
EAC were leading, 24-17, before some errors and timely hits from the Lyceans knotted the score at 24. It was a see-saw battle from there, before Rocelyn Hongria produced her game-high 17th point to take the win at 25-17, 25-16- 27-25.
The Lady Blazers (7-1) will take on 1-7 Mapua University for their finals eliminations game on Monday, January 24, at 2 pm. On their part, the Lady Stags (4-4) will need to win their assignment against the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas (4-3) earlier that day at 12 noon to revive their semis hopes.
The Lady Pirates (3-5) will try to finish their season on a high note against Colegio de San Juan de Letran (2-6) on Thursday, January 17 at 2 pm. The Lady Generals ended the season winless at 0-9.
CSJL 3 – Hongria 17, Juanillo 10, Sindayen 9, Rafael 6, Patio 4, Wanta 4, Sevilla 1, Genova 0, Sta. Maria 0, Galeno 0, Dahab 0, Mapula L, Belaro L.
EAC 0 – Lumbo 16, Magsino 5, Almazan 4, Tasis 3, Cabrera 1, Mangaring 1, Reyes 0, Medina L, Landicho L.
CSB 3 –Austero 13, Abriam 11, Umali 8, Pablo 4, Miranda 4, Lai 2, Daguil 2, Cui 0, Cardiente 0, Dolorito 0, Tumang 0, Lim L, Torres L.
SSC-R 0 – Dapol 8, Sta. Rita 8, Dalisay 4, Requierme 3, Oliveros 3, Tan 1, Santiago 0, Arevalo 0, Moralina 0, Carreon 0, Bermillo L.