ST. Benilde played the spoiler’s role, bundling out Arellano University from the semifinal race with a come-from-behind five-set win and giving University of Santo Tomas a free ride to the Final Four of the Shakey's V-League Season 12-Collegiate Conference at The Arena in San Juan City Sunday.
The Lady Blazers dropped two closely-fought sets but stole the next two via the same fashions before pouring it all out in the decider to complete a 23-25, 25-27, 25-23, 25-23, 15-10 stunner over the reigning NCAA champions.
It was only St. Benilde’s first win after dropping its first six games and it tied the Lady Blazers at seventh with the La Salle-Dasmariña squad. But it was enough to ruin the Lady Chiefs’ bid for a playoff for the last semifinal berth.
Arellano needed a win to tie UST for fourth place at 4-3 but the setback wiped out the Lady Chiefs’ crack for a spot in the semis in the league sponsored by Shakey’s and presented by PLDT Home Ultera.
UST, which braced for a playoff after dropping a sorry five-setter to FEU last Saturday, thus took the No. 4 slot and will face unbeaten Ateneo at the start of the best-of-three semis on Saturday.
No. 2 National U and third seed Far Eastern U duel for the other finals berth in the mid-season offering of the league where it all started.
Janine Navarro saved her best for last and banged in 31 hits, including attack points, while Jeanette Panaga, Ranya Musa and Melanie Torres combined for 23 markers and the rest backed them up with a gritty floor defense to stun the Lady Chiefs.
Menchie Tubiera fired 24 hits, skipper Joy Rosario and Danna Henson rammed in 13 points apiece while Shirley Salamagos added 10 hits for Arellano, which looked headed for a sweep after taking the first two sets but found itself on the receiving end of a sweep by the late-charging St. Benilde side.
Earlier, University of the Philippines, with Isabel Molde and Justine Dorog combining for 33 hits, blasted La Salle-Dasmariñas, 25-19, 25-10, 25-18, to finish sixth at 2-5.
The Lady Patriots wound up with a 1-6 slate.