ARELLANO University just won’t settle for second best again.
The Lady Chiefs finally won their maiden NCAA women’s volleyball crown with a 25-23, 25-19, 26-24 beating of San Sebastian College Friday at The Arena in San Juan.
The newly-crowned champions swept the best-of-three series, 2-0, for their first championship since joining the country’s oldest collegiate league in 2009.
Arellano lost to former three-time champion Perpetual Help in last year’s Finals.
Menchie Tubiera, adjudged as Finals MVP, finished with 18 points, while Danna Henson, CJ Rosario, and Shirley Salamagos combined for 21 points for the Lady Chiefs.
San Sebastian was at set point, 24-23, after Jov Prado committed an untimely service error for Arellano.
Tubiera scored the game-tying kill, before the Lady Chiefs moved at championship point after SSC’s ace spiker Gretchel Soltones hit the ball out.
San Sebastian libero Alyssa Eroa had two excellent digs to save the rally, but the lanky Henson scored a down-the-line spike to seal the victory for the title-hungry Lady Chiefs.
“Pinag-hirapan namin nang husto at hindi namin kinalimutan kung ano ang target namin this year,” admitted Arellano coach Obet Javier. “This victory is for the Arellano community.”
“Sinabi ko huwag na natin bigyan sila ng confidence, tapusin na natin ito at wala nang extension pa,” added the Arellano coach.
The Lady Chiefs, who won all but one of their 14 games this season, drew first blood in the best-of-three series with a 25-18, 25-15, 20-25, 25-19 win.
San Sebastian again lived and died with Cebuana hotshot Soltones, who finished with 24 points.
But the season MVP failed to get the needed support from her teammates.
Aside from Soltones, named as the Best Scorer, other SSC belles who were recipients of individual awards include Nikka Dalisay (Rookie of the Year) and Eroa (Best Digger and Receiver).
Completing the awardees were Perpetual Help's Shyrra Cabriana (Best setter and Server), and St. Benilde's Jeanette Panaga (Best Attacker and Best Blocker).
Meanwhile, Emilio Aguinaldo College forced a winner-take-all in the men's division after a 25-22, 21-25, 21-25, 25-15, 15-13 win over College of Saint Benilde.
Game 3 is scheduled at 2 p.m. on Monday at the same venue, with the winner bagging their first league championship.
Season MVP Howard Mojica fired 33 points, including the match-clinching kill that allowed the Generals to tie the best-of-three series at 1-1.
“Nag-adjust kami sa receive,” said EAC coach Rod Palmero after his troops bounced back from a shocking first set loss.
Johnvic de Guzman led the Blazers with 20 hits but committed a lot of costly mistakes in the deciding frame as CSB failed to clinch the series.
In juniors play, Ricky Marcos steered Perpetual Help to the title as it routed Lyceum, 25-15, 25-23, 25-19.