DEFENDING champion Arellano University earned a twice-to-beat advantage in the semifinals of the NCAA Season 93 women’s volleyball tournament after grinding out a tough win over San Sebastian College, 19-25, 36-24, 25-16, 25-21, on Thursday at The Arena in San Juan.
AU finished the elimination round at the No. 1 spot with an 8-1 win-loss record.
Jovielyn Prado led the Lady Chiefs with 17 points, 18 digs and 10 excellent receptions in a match that took almost two hours to finish.
AU setter Rhea Ramirez dished out 35 of the team’s 39 excellent sets to choreograph a balanced attack as Regine Arocha added 16, skipper Mary Anne Esguerra had 15, Necole Euben chipped in 14 and Andrea Marzan contributed 13.
Despite the win, AU coach Obet Javier, who steered the Lady Chiefs to their sixth straight semis appearance, was disappointed.
“Kung tutuusin, kung tatanungin niyo ako kung happy ba ako, masaya nanalo, pero kung titignan natin ‘yung kabuuan ng game, hindi maganda para sa amin,” he said.
“Nagkakaroon kami ng malaking problema ngayon, hindi ko alam pero dapat maayos namin. Nakita ko, kung ganito performance namin sa semis, mukhang mahihirapan kami umusad,” he added.
Nikka Dalisay finished with 23 points for SSC, which slid to 5-4 at the fifth spot.
The Recto-based squad still has a chance for the playoff round but it will wait for the outcome of the games between University of Perpetual Help (5-2) and eliminated team Letran (3-5) on Friday and Jose Rizal University (5-3) and also ran Lyceum (1-7) on Tuesday.