COLLEGE of Saint Benilde moved on the cusp of clinching a semifinal berth with a 17-25, 25-18, 25-22, 25-22 conquest of San Beda in the NCAA women’s volleyball tournament yesterday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
The Lady Blazers extended their perfect run to six matches but not without rallying from a set down, where the Lady Red Spikers took the initiative early.
The lone undefeated team in the season, St. Benilde needs to win one of its last three elimination round matches to make it to the semifinals for the second straight year under coach Jerry Yee.
Later, Jose Rizal University arrested a four-match losing streak following a 25-22, 25-17, 25-19 tripping of Emilio Aguinaldo College.
Gayle Pascual had four blocks to finish with 20 points and collected five digs while Diane Ventura, who took over from an off-form Klarisa Abriam in the second set, added 14 points, including two service aces for the Lady Blazers.
Chelsea Umali, who also contributed four of St. Benilde’s 13 blocks, tallied four service aces for an 11-point outing, while Mycah Go had nine points, including the match-clinching kill, and 10 receptions.
The loss dropped San Beda to 3-2, just half-a-game ahead of fifth-running Letran (2-2) in the race for the last semifinals.
With a 2-4 card in seventh place, the Lady Bombers are one-and-a-half game out of the No. 4 spot, as the Mandaluyong-based spikers cannot afford to drop games from now on if they wanted to make it back to the Final Four.
“Nag-boost ang morale nila kasi medyo nag-skid ng ilang games na sunud-sunod. Mabuti na lang at na-compose ang sarili nila,” said JRU coach Mia Tioseco.
“Kailangan lang namin tumapos ng set and hopefully, ng game. Kailangang kapitan nila para makatapos ng game,” she added.
Dolly Verzosa had three service aces to finish with 16 points and collected 12 digs while Sidney Niegos and Mary May Ruiz each had 10 kills for the Lady Bombers.
The Lady Blazers’ tough net defense proved too much to handle for Cesca Racraquin, the Lady Red Spikers’ ace who had to bleed her points on 11-of-54 attacks.
Nieza Viray and Racraquin each scored 13 points while Trisha Paras and Ella Viray contributed 10 points apiece for San Beda.
The Lady Generals, meanwhile, are still winless in five matches. EAC, which failed to pick up a win last year, joined San Sebastian at the bottom of the 10-team field.
Men’s action saw St. Benilde nip San Beda,
23-25, 25-17, 27-25, 19-25, 15-9, to tie with Arellano in third place at 4-2.
San Beda kept within the top four range in the juniors division, posting its third win in five matches following a 25-7, 25-16, 25-8 romp of CSB-LSGH.