Arellano ousts CSB in five-set thriller to arrange finals showdown vs San Sebastian
The Lady Chiefs showed grit in beating defending champion Lady Blazers to reach the Finals against the Lady Stags. Jerome Ascano

ARELLANO University proved steadier against defending champion College of St. Benilde in a five-set thriller, 19-25, 25-23, 19-25, 25-13, 15-9, to arrange a Finals clash with San Sebastian College in the NCAA Season 92 women’s volleyball tournament on Friday at The Arena in San Juan.

Jovielyn Prado led the way for the Lady Chiefs with 17 points, including the Finals-clinching kill, while Regine Arocha, who was a dominant figure at the net down the stretch, added 16 markers as AU also avenged its last year’s stepladder semis loss to CSB.

“Kung ‘di pa sila gumawa ng tama, magkakaroon pa ng rubber match ulit. Sinabi naman namin na wala na dapat ganun,” said AU coach Obet Javier.

“Kahit papaano isang taon naming pinaghandaan ‘yung nangyari last year, so kahit papaano ‘yung goal namin sa Benilde is successful naman,” he added. 

The Season 90 champion rode their momentum in the fourth set to take an early 5-1 lead in the fifth set.

The Lady Blazers tied the contest, 7-7, before the Lady Chiefs woke up just in time for a 9-7 breather and went on to clinch the win.

Jeanette Panaga scored for CSB but AU countered with a 6-1 run capped by a Jovielyn Prado kill to win the match.

Javier also lauded CSB for giving them a tough match.

“Napakahirap ng dinaanan namin, ‘yung Benilde talagang binigay nila ‘yung dapat nilang ibigay sa game na ‘to,” he said.

“Nagpapasalamat din ako sa Benilde kasi pinakita rin nila kung gaano katatag ‘yung team ko pagdating ng ganitong sitwasyon lalo na sa fifth set,” he added. 

Panaga finished her collegiate career with 22 points, scattered from 10 kills, seven blocks and five service aces, while Jan Daguil chipped in 13 markers and Ranya Musa, Angela Enginco and Rachel Anne Austero each had 11 points. But CSB committed a total of 44 errors that added to their downfall.

Game One of the Finals is on Tuesday. 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @meilinlozada