ARELLANO University and San Beda University, the protagonists of last year’s Finals, notched their second win after taking down separate foes to grab a share of lead in NCAA Season 94 women’s volleyball play on Tuesday at the Arena in San Juan City.
Defending champion Arellano survived another tough test from College of Saint Benilde in five sets, 25-17, 20-25, 25-18, 18-25, 16-14, for a 2-0 win-loss record.
Facing the team that gave their only loss in 12 games — including the nine-game elimination, Final Four and championship, the Lady Chiefs squandered a 12-9 lead only for the Lady Blazers to tie it 14-all before the two crucial errors of CSB stars Maritess Pablo overcooking a serve and Klarisa Abriam sending an attack long, that easily saved Arellano.
Last year’s top rookie Necole Ebuen led the way for the Lady Chiefs with 22 points off 19 kills, two blocks and a service ace. Princess Bello nailed 17 spikes for 18 points including 13 excellent receptions, while Regine Arocha added 14 hits. Playmaker Sarah Verutiao made 27 excellent sets including 16 digs.
“Kumbaga sinuwerte kami sa huli, nandoon na nasa Benilde na. Siguro itong mga panahon na ito ibinigay talaga sa amin ng nasa itaas,” Arellano University coach Obet Javier said. “Nalagpasan namin si Benilde ngayon pero di kami doon titigil kasi lahat ng teams naman ngayon contender.”
The Lady Blazers dropped its first game of the season with Marites Pablo and Klarisa Abriam having 14 and 13 points, respectively.
Last year’s runner-up San Beda University also got its second win sweeping Mapua University in straight sets, 30-28, 25-17, 25-14.
Nieza Viray and Sattriani Espiritu showed the way for the Lady Red Spikers with 14 points. Cesca Racraquin poured 13 hits including 25 digs, while Trisha Paras added 10 markers. Libero Daryl Racraquin protected the floor with 25 digs and 15 excellent receptions
“I think ‘yung start sa amin parang masyado kaming nagri-relax. Kasi alam namin na parang, ewan ko, parang mas angat kami sa kailang team kaya nagri-relax kami,” said team captain Cesca Racraquin. “Pero parang naging awakening sa amin yung bakbakan na ‘yun.”
Nobody score in double figures for Mapua’s season debut with Angelie Marie Magundayao leading the way nine points in a losing effort.
San Beda and Arellano will return to action on Monday facing Lyceum of the Philippines (0-1) and Mapua, respectively.
Mapua and St. Benilde will try to bounce back on Friday against San Sebastian College (1-0) and Letran (1-0), respectively.