What was once a disadvantage for the Lady Chiefs turned into a rallying point.
Against a thrice-to-beat disadvantage and facing three-time league MVP Grethcel Soltones, the Arellano University Lady Chiefs came within a game of winning the NCAA Season 92 Championship after surviving the San Sebastian College Lady Stags, 18-25, 25-16, 25-10, 26-28, 15-13 at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
The match was ultimately decided by errors and bad passes. The Lady Chiefs began the match struggling to limit their miscues, but reined in their offense come the next two sets. Holding a 2-1 sets edge, the Lady Chiefs figured in a back-and-forth fourth frame that saw neither team lead by more than two points. In a heated deuce, San Sebastian ace Grethcel Soltones carried her team, scoring the set’s last two points to force a decider.
The fifth set fell into the same rhythm with both teams frantically giving up errors. Following a beautiful Regine Arocha off-speed hit, San Sebastian’s Dangie Encarnacion fired a hit wide to give the match to AU and prevent another deuce.
“Breaks of the game na lang, mas lamang kami siguro ng kaunti sa kundisyon. Noong huling sets, ang daming error ng Baste,” lamented Arellano head coach Obet Javier.
The Lady Chiefs can clinch their second title in program history on Tuesday, 4:00 pm, at the PhilSports Arena.
“Pilitin na namin makuha. May practice sa Sunday. Review kami sa pagkukulang and overtime kami sa paglimita ng errors,” added Javier.
Skipper Rialen Sante powered in 15 points while open hitter Jovielyn Prado added 13. The Lady Chiefs received 51 errors from San Sebastian that augmented their attack.
Soltones managed 26 points, while middle hitter Kath Villegas added 11.
The Lady Stags are again on the verge of letting a perfect elimination round go to waste as, last season, the College of Saint Benilde Lady Blazers toppled their thrice-to-beat advantage.
AU (3) – Sante 15, Prado 13, Marzan 11, Esguerra 10, Arocha 7, Ramirez 2, Calixto 0, Flores 0, Sanchez 0, Tan 0, Galang (L), Ibisa (L)
SSC-R (2) – Soltones 26, Villegas 11, Encarnacion 7, Sta. Rita 6, Dalisay 3, Lim 1, Santos 0, Oliveros 0, Eroa (L)