DEFENDING champion Arellano University turned back San Sebastian, 25-17, 25-18, 25-27, 25-13, to post its fourth straight win in the NCAA women's volleyball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Centre yesterday.
The Lady Chiefs redeemed themselves from a third set meltdown with a dominant performance in the fourth to beat the Lady Stags for a sixth consecutive time.
Arellano joined idle College of Saint Benilde on top of the standings as the tournament reaches the midway point.
Later, Lyceum of the Philippines University squandered a eight-point lead and got the needed breaks late in the third set to beat Jose Rizal University, 25-23, 25-19, 25-23, and enter the win column.
The Lady Chiefs were poised for another routine straight set romp but things went awry late in the third frame.
Shane Requierme completed San Sebastian's comeback from a 17-22 deficit to get a lifeline, handing Arellano its first set defeat of the season.
Coach Obet Javier rued the Lady Chiefs' complacency which allowed the Lady Stags to steal a set.
"Actually, nag-relax ang mga player. Kaya nakakatakot. Hindi dapat ganoon ang isang team," said Javier.
First-year setter Donnalyn Paralejas then took over from veteran playmaker Sarah Verutiao in the fourth and the Lady Chiefs' offense went smoothly until the very end.
Regine Arocha finished with a career-high 24 points, including four service aces to go with 11 digs and nine receptions, reigning MVP Necole Ebuen added 10 points and 11 digs, while Princess Bello had nine points, including two blocks, for Arellano.
Jamille Carreon had 13 points, while Reyann Cañete contributed 12 markers for the Lady Stags, who now sit in last place with a 0-4 record.
The Lady Bombers rallied from 8-16 down to tie at 23-23 but consecutive errors by Lyka Egera allowed the Lady Pirates to escape with the victory that ended a three-match losing streak.
Rookie Joy Onofre had five blocks to finish with 15 points while Ciamelle Wanta chipped in 14 points and nine digs for LPU.
The Lady Pirates also drew huge game from Alexandra Rafael, who scored 12 points, including two service aces, and Jacqueline Acuña, who also recorded five blocks for a 11-point outing.
Dolly Verzosa had 12 hits, including two service aces, and seven receptions for JRU, which lost three straight after a season-opening victory over San Sebastian.
In the men's division, Christian dela Paz had 29 points and six digs as Arellano scraped past a gritty San Sebastian side, 25-23, 16-25, 25-27, 25-19, 16-14 to tie titleholder Perpetual in first place at 4-0.