CES Molina and Grethcel Soltones lifted Team Saints in outlasting Team Heroes, 25-17, 24-26, 21-25, 25-17, 17-15, in the first-ever NCAA Volleyball All-Star game on Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
A former San Sebastian Lady Stag, Soltones showed why she is a three-time league MVP as she sparked the Saints in storming back from a 1-2 set deficit and forced a fifth set.
Molina, who played for San Beda from Seasons 85-89, capped the Saints’ comeback from an 11-13 deficit in the fifth set as she scored the last three points for a 16-15 advantage before an anti-climactic attack error from Jovielyn Prado to win the inaugural all-star game.
“Its good to be back. Nakakatuwa na madami ng bagong potential players ngayon a nagpapakita na lalo na sa NC,” said national team player Molina, who is set to play in the 30th Southeast Asian Games. “Nakakatuwa rin na naging part ng first NCAA All-Star [volleyball]. First medal ko ito sa NCAA so mas happy ako lalo, gold pa.”
Besides Soltones and Molina, Team Saints coach Mack Cariño also leaned on Perpetual Help’s Jenny Gaviola, Shyra Umandal and alumna Cindy Imbo, St. Benilde’s Klarissa Abriam, setter Jewel Lai and Rachel Austero (alumna); Letran’s Julienne Castro, Chamberlaine Cunada and Miracle Mendoza (alumna), San Beda’s Cesca Racraquin and Kim Manzano as well as San Sebastian’s Jewelle Bermillo and Kamille Tan.
“Sobrang happy kasi sa bench pa lang wala kaming ibang ginawa kundi magkwentuhan. All in all sa game namin today is enjoyment lang talaga,” said Cariño. “As in makita lang ng mga fans, makita ng mga bata, ng mga bagong henerasyon ngayon sa NCAA yung mga dating henerasyon.”
“Yung collaboration between old and new sobrang maganda ang naging result,” he added.
Team Heroes relied on three-time NCAA champion coach Obet Javier’s system run by Season 94 Finals Most Valuable Player Regine Arocha and setter Sarah Verutiao, who reunited with former Lady Chief Prado.
Javier also banked on former MVP Shola Alvarez of Jose Rizal University and alumnis Arianne Agustia of EAC, Cherilyn Sindayen of Lyceum and Kat Racelis of Mapua as well as current NCAA players Dolly Versoza, Mary May Ruiz, Kathrine Almazan, Kristine Magallanes, Bien Juanillo, Alexa Rafael, Lorraine Barias amd Jonina Fernandez.
But the Heroes failed to sustain their 2-1 match advantage.