ARELLANO University held off a late University of Perpetual Help to pull off a thrilling 23-25, 25-9, 25-18, 22-25, 15-12 win and force a decider in the NCAA Season 94 women’s volleyball Finals on Friday at the Arena in San Juan City.
The Lady Chiefs flirted with disaster after squandering a 2-1 match advantage and 20-17 lead in the fourth set, setting the stage for a final-set dogfight.
But the defending champions made sure there will be no more meltdown in Game Two as MVP Necole Ebuen, Princess Bello and Regine Arocha delivered the killer blows in the fifth set.
"Masakit siya pero hindi ko ininda kasi sabi ko ilalaban ko yung game namin na to para makaabot kami sa Game Three,” said an emotional Ebuen.
From 8-all in the fifth set, Ebuen, Arocha and Bello lifted Arellano to a 13-9 lead but Bianca Tripoli’s spike and Mikaela Juanich’s attack error cut the lead down to two.
The reigning NCAA MVP, who played through an ankle sprain, put her team at match point, 14-11. Perpetual Help skipper Cindy Imbo saved one match point but a crucial service error from Hershey Llorente set the stage for a do-or-die Game 3 on Tuesday.
Ebuen led the way with 18 points, all coming from kills, and 18 digs. Bello finished with 18 hits, Carla Donato chipped in 13 markers while last year’s Finals MVP Arocha had 12 points and 11 excellent receptions.
The loss of the Lady Altas denied Perpetual Help a triple celebration after its juniors and men’s teams wrapped up championships earlier in the day.
Imbo was the lone player to finish in double figures for Perpetual Help with 18 points off 13 spikes, four service aces and a block.