PERPETUAL Help made short work of Mapua, 25-3, 25-14, 25-4, on Tuesday to jumpstart its title-retention bid in the women’s volleyball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
It barely took 40 minutes for the Lady Altas to dispatch the Lady Cardinals as Honey Tubino proved to be an impenetrable tower on defense, while Sandra delos Santos picked up from where she left off in her MVP year last season.
Tubino, a mythical team member last season, had seven blocks on her way to a game-high 13 points, while Delos Santos added 12 points, 10 on kills, as the Lady Altas have now won 15 straight games dating back to Season 87.
The Lady Altas won all their 14 games last season, including a 2-0 finals sweep of Letran to reign as champions and put a halt to San Sebastian’s six-year title romp.
Despite being without Jheck Dionela, last year’s Best Libero who has already graduated, the Lady Altas looked like the dominating team that swept all their games last season as they pulled away from the get-go and got little resistance from the Lady Cardinals, last year’s cellar-dwellers.
So dominant were the Lady Altas on both ends that only three spikers scored for the Lady Cardinals. Alissa Magallanes, Patricia Aquino, and Joyce Javier could only come up with a point apiece for the Intramuros-based spikers, whose points mostly came from the Lady Altas’ unforced errors.
Earlier, San Sebastian was successful in its first game without coach Roger Gorayeb as it scored a 27-25, 25-19, 25-19 over San Beda to join the Lady Altas in the early lead.
The SSC Lasses found a gem in rookie Gretchel Soltones as she paced the Recto-based team with 14 points, including the last two in the first set that virtually took the fight out of the Red Lionesses.
Returning setter Jennelyn “Bamcie” Belen also proved to be a factor in the straight-sets victory as she facilitated their offense with aplomb.
“Siya ang nag-stabilize ng game kasi kung wala siya, walang mag-babalance ng veterans and rookies namin,” said SSC coach Clint Malazo, adding the team is dedicating the season to Gorayeb, the veteran mentor who was suspended for a whole year for his role in an offseason melee with San Beda’s basketball team.
It was an opposite result in the men’s division as last year’s runner-up San Beda drubbed San Sebastian, 25-11, 25-23, 25-19.
Gilbert Ablan fired 14 markers, while captain Lovenzo Capate and Christian Euciso added 12 apiece to lead the Lions.
Perpetual’s male squad also had a smashing debut as it blasted Mapua, 25-15, 25-19, 25-9, in the day’s last game to likewise start their title defense on a high note.
Skipper Jay dela Cruz, Adam Daquer, and Edmar Sanchez also scored in twin digits for the Altas.