WHAT was expected to be a battle turned into a walk in the park for Perpetual Help as it beat San Sebastian College in straight sets to retain the NCAA women’s volleyball crown on Wednesday at The Arena in San Juan.
The deciding match of the three-game series was expected to be tight after San Sebastian took the opener and Perpetual fought back in the second game to extend the showdown.
But the Lady Altas made the title match look like a mere workout, scoring a 25-19, 25-17, 25-16, victory.
San Sebastian had a cold start in a title decider oddly set in the morning, while Perpetual was hot right from the beginning, seized a 17-11 lead and never looked back.
The Lady Altas were never threatened and grabbed an early 9-0 lead at the start of the third set and held a 14-point lead, 18-4, after another nine-point spurt.
San Sebastian went on an 8-1 run to slice the deficit to four, 12-18, only to crumble under pressure as the the Lady Altas simply shrugged off the momentary slip and Honey Royse Tubino poured in three consecutive points to seal the win and their second straight title.
“Credit talaga sa mga players, pinakita nila ang puso ng champion,” said UPH coach Jason Sapin.
Earlier in the second set, Perpetual Help led by as many as eight points, 25-17, after a 9-1 rally.
League MVP Norie Jane Diaz was surprised with the quick end to the exciting series that saw San Sebastian win Game One, 26-24, 26-24, 22-25, 27-25, and Perpetual even the series with a 21-25, 25-12, 28-26, 29-27 win.
“Hindi namin in-expect (na ganoon ang result ng game),” said Diaz. “Alam kasi namin na ang Baste malakas at hindi nila ibibigay sa amin ang championship.”
But the HRM senior acknowledged her team’s effort.
“Madaling nabuo ang team namin at mas matatag ang team at ang goal namin ay makamit ang championship,” she said.
Tubino came away with 17 points, from 14 attacks and three service aces, while April Anne Sartin chipped in 15, from 12 spikes and three service aces, and former MVP delos Santos contributed 12, from five hits, one block and six service aces, for Perpetual Help.
Perpetual ended the season with a 13-3 win-loss record, while SSCR had a 10-5 mark.
The Lady Altas gave away 23 points to the Lady Stags from team errors, but won in the service department by coming up with 13 service aces while San Sebastian had none.
Rookie Gretchel Soltones led San Sebastian with 15 markers, all from attacks.