SAN Beda prevented Arellano from sweeping the eliminations and reaching the finals outright as the Lady Red Spikers hung tight to upset the Lady Chiefs, 16-25, 25-17, 25-19, 18-25, 16-14, in their Finals rematch in NCAA Season 94 women’s volleyball tournament on Tuesday at the Arena in San Juan City.
The Lady Red Spikers flirted with disaster, squandering a 2-1 match advantage to allow the Lady Chiefs to force a decider and even move a point closer from sweeping the eliminations with a 14-13 lead from Necole Ebuen’s hit.
But San Beda never wavered and got its act together as Sattriani Espiritu and Ela Viray scored back-to-back blocks to steal the match point, 15-14, before Nieza nailed the game-winning spike to exact sweet revenge on last year’s Finals tormentor.
Nieza powered San Beda with 17 points off 16 kills and had 19 digs. Team captain Cesca Racraquin had an all-around game with 16 hits, including 15 digs and 10 excellent receptions, while Ela added 12 markers.
“Malaki sa amin ito kasi pampa-boost din ng morale para sa mga bata. Nakita namin na yung pinaghihirapan namin may resulta na maganda,” said San Beda coach Nemesio Gavin after ending their eliminations on a high note.
Although it prevented a stepladder semifinal format, San Beda still finished at third seed due to quotient system despite forcing a triple tie at first spot with Arellano and idle College of Saint Benilde, which all had identical 8-1 win-loss records.
The Lady Red Spikers finished third, collecting only 21 points quoitient points behind the second-seeded Lady Chiefs, who had 24 points to fall just a marker short of securing top seed in the Final Four on Tuesday.
The league-leading Lady Blazers will wait for their Final four foes as University of Perpetual Help (5-3) and Jose Rizal University (4-4) fight for the last semis ticket.
Ebuen erupted with game-high 23 points for Arellano, Princess Bello had 12 hits, while Regine Arocha delivered 10 markers including 18 digs and eight excellent receptions only for them to fail from getting the outright Finals and dropped to the second seed.
Meanwhile, the Arellano Chiefs (7-2) took down the also-ran San Beda Red Spikers (2-7), 25-17, 22-25, 25-16, 25-12, to secure third place in the NCAA men’s Final Four.
Jesrael Liberato and Christian Segovia led the way for the Chiefs with 18 and 16 points, respectively. Christian Dela Paz added 11 hits as Arellano locked in its place in the third place.
If unbeaten, University of Perpetual Help (8-0) completes the elimination sweep against JRU (2-6) on Thursday, Arellano will take on fourth placer Emilio Aguinaldo College in the first phase of the knockout stepladder semifinals on Tuesday, where the winner advances to the next stage battling the second seed College of Saint Benilde (8-1) on January 29.
If the Altas won’t advance as the outright Finalists, the Chiefs take on a twice-to-beat Blazers in a Final Four format.
Angelo Michael Torres and Jeffrey Losa had 13 and 12 points for San Beda, respectively. The Red Spikers played without Nes Pamilar, who passed away last Saturday due to heart failure.
In juniors’ play, Karl Michael Jacinto and Kyle Andre Maquirang scored 17 and 12 points, respectively, for Arellano (5-4) to beat San Beda (0-9), 25-15, 21-25, 23-25, 25-19.
Arellano tied idle Emilio Aguinaldo College and La Salle Green Hills at fourth place all holding 5-4 cards but the Brigadiers advanced to the semis due to quotient.