COLLEGE of Saint Benilde (CSB) edged Arellano University, 25-22, 25-22, 25-22, in a straight-sets win that looked tighter than the scoreline to boost its semifinals bid in the men’s division of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Season 2 Collegiate Conference on Saturday at the Arena in San Juan City.
After foiling NCAA champion University of Perpetual Help Altas last Wednesday, the Blazers took down the runner-ups, Arellano Chiefs this time in just 65 minutes to win their second straight win for an improved 3-2 win-loss record, tying the UP Maroons at fourth place.
But the victory was not a walk in a park as the Blazers needed to survive meltdowns in every set especially in third, where they nearly squandered a 21-18 lead after allowing the Chiefs to trim it within one.
Vince Abrot stopped the bleeding, while Jesrael Liberato committed an attack error to pull CSB to match point, 24-21. Christian Dela Paz hit one more to keep Arellano alive but his next attack went out, handing the win to the Blazers.
Abrot once again led the way with 18 points all coming from attacks including five digs. Owen Bacani delivered 10 hits including 24 excellent receptions, while Kevin Magsino and Joshua De Sequera added eight markers each.
“Sa game nung nakakalamang nung first two sets tuwing nakakalaman kami nung first part ng mga sets na ‘yun nagrerelax agad,” said St. Benilde head coach Arnold Laniog. “Sabi ko hindi naman ‘yun ‘yung ano natin eh, ang focus natin is ‘yung performance natin, maging disciplined tayo sa laro natin at responsibilities namin.”
The Blazers take on the Maroons (3-2) for solo fourth place on Wednesday at 1 p.m.
“‘Yung mga tinalo namin mga NCAA schools sabi ko talagang every time na makakalaban natin tayo ng tagaNCAA magbigay tayo ng statement,” Laniog said. “Every time naman na makakaharap tayo ng UAAP teams challenge na lang natin sa sarili natin, win or lose, ‘yung performance natin masatisfy tayo.”
Liberato and Dela Paz had 12 points apiece to lead the Chiefs, while skipper Christian Segovia added 10 in a losing cause.
But Arellano failed to barge into win column for the fifth straight game that left them stuck at the bottom. The Chiefs take on NCAA finals rival and the defending champion University of Perpetual Help Altas (1-5) next on Sunday next week at 9 a.m.