Continuing their storybook run in the NCAA Season 94 Women’s Volleyball Tournament, the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Lady Altas took down defending champions Arellano University Lady Chiefs in the series opener of the Finals, 21-25, 25-17, 25-21, 25-20, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
After dropping the first set, the Lady Altas found their groove in the second frame and never looked back. Perpetual surged to a 17-12 lead in the second frame before erasing an early two-point Arellano lead in the third set. The Lady Chiefs began their struggles on service reception, most evident in a stretch in the third set that the Lady Altas clinched three aces and took a 21-17 lead.
Arellano’s offensive woes worsened in the third set. Perpetual ace spiker Cindy Imbo took full advantage, powering in four attacks in a run that pulled the Lady Altas to a decisive 17-11 lead.
Perpetual head coach Michael Cariño lauded his team’s patience and perseverance throughout the back-and-forth affair.
“Sinabi ko lang sa kanila na one-point-at-a-time and thankfully, naka-execute kami,” said Cariño. “Siyempre, very tough talaga ‘yung Arellano sa kailangan talaga namin maging matibay. Mataas ‘thng level ng focus na pinakita nila.”
The Lady Altas mounted their attack through solid serving, punching in nine aces to Arellano’s two.
After dropping a career-high 32 points last Tuesday, Cindy Imbo again paced the Lady Altas with 18 markers and 16 excellent receptions.
Regine Arocha was the lone bright spot for the Lady Chiefs, managing 17 markers.
The Lady Altas can clinch their first title since 2013 in Game Two on February 8. The entire Perpetual volleyball program can clinch a historic triple championship as both their Juniors’ and Men’s squads hold the series lead in their respective Finals series.
UPHSD (3) – Imbo 18, Rosal 12, Suico 10, Umandal 10, Gaviola 9, Versoza 5, Castillo 2, Gual 1, Dayao (L), Sangalang (L)
AU (1) – Arocha 17, Donato 9, Juanich 8, Bello 7, Ebuen 7, San Gregorio 2, Verutiao 2, Daisog 0, Ramirez 0, Torres 0, Buemia (L), Flores (L)