ARELLANO advanced to the finals for the first time since joining the league in 2009, setting up a title showdown with two-time defending champion University of Perpetual Help in the 89th NCAA women's volleyball tournament.
The Lady Chiefs will play for the title after turning back College of St. Benilde, 25-15, 25-22, 25-20, at The Arena in San Juan on Monday.
The Lady Altas stayed on track for a third straight title after disposing of San Sebastian, 25-22, 25-21, 25-20.
Arellano and Perpetual Help shoved CSB out of the finals picture due to their higher sets ratio of 2.00 and 1.40, respectively, over the Lady Blazers, who had 1.00.
The best-of-three title series starts on Friday.
Danna Henson came up with 19 points for Arellano, while Menchie Tubiera added 15 and Cristine Rosario chipped in with 11.
"Sinwerte lang siguro kami (baka) wala sa kundisyon ang Benilde," said Arellano coach Roberto Javier, noting that the Lady Chiefs are eager to bag the title, especially graduating players team captain Lexyl Oserio and Mary Jane Ticar.
"Lagi ko sinasabi sa player ko, matatapos 'yung season, lalo sa mga gagraduate na mag-iiwan pa kayo ng talo," he said. "Ibigay niyo dapat ang kaya niyo. Kaya naman namin ang problema lang minsan ayaw gumalaw."
Meanwhile, Honey Tubino, who only attends team practice once a week due to academic commitments, came up with 22 points for Perpetual Help.
“Well, actually una 'di ko sinabi sa mga bata 'yang mga quotient na 'yan," said UPH coach Sammy Acaylar, who had to win over Arellano on Friday to stay in contention.
"I just want them to play hard, be a champion, we have to defend our title, we have to win this very important game," he added.
"But you have to enjoy and keep your feet on the ground kasi hindi maganda na mataas ang tingin mo sa sarili mo," he said.
Therese Veronas had 11 points for St. Benilde, while Czarina Berbano also made 11 for San Sebastian.