REIGNING champion Arellano University recovered from a first-set loss before beating University of Perpetual Help, 18-25, 25-16, 25-19, 26-24, to cruise to its eighth straight victory and a win closer from sweeping the NCAA Season 94 women's volleyball elimination round on Thursday at the Arena in San Juan City.
The Lady Chiefs needed to buck a lethargic start before getting their acts together with Necole Ebuen and Regine Arocha leading the way to move a win shy from sweeping the nine-game eliminations and advancing to the Finals outright.
Last year’s top rookie Ebuen showed the way for Arellano with game-high 16 points built on 12 kills and four blocks, while Reigning Finals Most Valuable Player Arocha delivered 11 hits from eight spikes and three service aces while protecting the floor with 16 digs and nine excellent receptions.
Team captain and playmaker Sarah Verutiao was also instrumental with 20 excellent sets on top of 14 digs and five points.
The two-time defending champions tightened their grip of the top place with an immaculate 8-0 win-loss record and will try to accomplish the outright Finals berth on Tuesday next week against last year’s Finals rivals San Beda University Lady Red Spikers (7-1).
“’Yun talaga yung plano namin this season, talagang kumbaga mas maganda na ‘yung nakatuntong ka na sa Finals at mag-aabang ka na lang kung sino ang makakalaban mo,” Arellano University head coach Obet Javier said.
The Lady Chiefs dropped a 22-18 advantage in the four set allowing the Lady Altas to score five of the next seven points to force a deuce, 24-all, only for Jhona Rosal and Cindy Imbo to commit the last two crucial miscues of Perpetual Help’s 40 errors.
Perpetual Help dropped to 4-3 card tied at fourth place tied with idle San Sebastian College with Imbo as the lone Lady Altas.
The Las Piñas-based team needs to win its last two games against SSC-R and Jose Rizal University (4-4) next week to secure a Final Four berth.
Meanwhile, Colegio de San Juan de Letran edged Mapua University in five sets with a come-from-behind 14-25, 26-24, 23-25, 25-17, 15-13 victory to break a six-game skid.
Miracle Mendoza led the charge for Letran with 21 points off 18 kills, two service aces and a block as the already-ran Lady Knights improved to 2-6 record.
Kathleen Dela Cruz delivered 18 points, while Mariel Larioque and Rhosselle Urriza added in 11 and 10 markers, respectively.
Letran will try to end its Season 94 campaign on a high note against Lyceum of the Philippines University (2-6) on Thursday next week.
Jan Morano had 15 points for the Lady Cardinals, while Angelie Magundayao and Jonina Fernandez finished with 14 hits each only for Mapua to drop with a 1-7 card and will close its season against College of Saint Benilde (6-1) on Monday next week.
The Letran Knights and Squires also won their respective matches.
The Knights swept the Cardinals, 25-15, 25-22, 25-20, to force a four-way tie with the latter and idle San Beda University and Jose Rizal University with identical 2-6 records in the men's division.
Mhel Gabuyo had 14 points while Christopher Cistina and Angel Canzana contributed 11 hits each for Letran.
In juniors action, the Squires (6-2) made a short work of the Red Robins (2-6), 25-18, 25-19, 25-22, to secure a Final Four berth with defending champion University of Perpetual Help and Lyceum of the Philippines University.