Arellano reaffirmed its mastery over Jose Rizal University with a 19-25, 25-20, 27-25, 25-17 victory Sunday to book a return trip to the finals in NCAA women’s volleyball at The Arena in San Juan City.
The second-seeded Lady Chiefs banked on their composure in the pivotal third set where they saved four match points en route to the set win that paved the way to their triumph.
The win not only duplicated their four-set victory against JRU in the eliminations but also reignited their four-peat title bid as they arranged a best-of-three finals affair with unbeaten College of St. Benilde starting Wednesday, July 20, at the same venue.
Game 2 will be on Friday, July 22, while Game 3, if necessary, will be on July 24.
The Lady Blazers earned the first finals berth after sweeping the nine-game eliminations.
Arellano coach Obet Javier’s gamble on Pauline De Guzman paid off after the seldom-used spiker came off the bench in the first set and went on to spearhead the Lady Chiefs with 19 points on 14 kills and three blocks.
“Binigay ko yung trust ko sa kanya, and nakita ko naman na gustung-gustong maglaro ng bata,” Javier said.
Down 24-21 in the third set, Arellano torched the net with De Guzman and Nicole Sasuman leading the charge to score six of the next seven points to claim the set victory.
It was a different scenario in the fourth as the Lady Chiefs dictated the pace with the Lady Bombers slowly losing steam after that close third-set encounter.
Trina Abay also showed the way for Arellano with 14 points off 11 kills and three blocks, while Carla Donato and Sasuman chipped in 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Kristine Adante also orchestrated smart plays, distributing the ball well and converting with 30 of the team’s 36 excellent sets.
Javier said they are looking forward to mounting a different strategy when they face the Lady Blazers in the finals.
“Di kami magpapahinga kasi yung makakalaban namin, pader kung sa pader. Tore kung tore. Panibagong challenge pero di pa kami tapos maglaro,” he said.