CSB secures 2nd Final Four appearance

CSB secures 2nd Final Four appearance

MANILA — College of Saint Benilde is almost there as it moved closer to achieving a successful back-to-back title run after picking up a three-set 25-19, 25-18, 25-22 win over Letran on Friday in the NCAA women’s volleyball tournament at the San Andres Sports Complex.

As such, the Lady Blazers stretched their winning ways to seven matches more than enough for them to secure their second Final Four appearance since 2019 in the country’s oldest collegiate athletic organization.

The Taft-based spikers also reached the semis in 2020 with aplomb as they also went 7-0 before the Covid-19 pandemic forced organizers to suspend the season.

The University of Perpetual System Dalta also kept its Final Four hopes alive by putting aside San Beda’s gallant stand, 25-12, 25-20, 25-23.

UPSD now totes a 5-1 win-loss record good for solo second.

As usual, Gayle Pascual shone the brightest for the Lady Blazers with 17 points even as Jade Gentapa had 15 crucial points, spiked with a match-clinching dump and seven receptions.

Indeed, it was a sorry debacle for the Lady Knights who led 11-6 on Judiel Nitura’s five consecutive service aces in the third set only to crumble when it mattered most.

Ultimately, Letran saw its three-game winning streak crushed which also dropped them into a four-way logjam at third place toting a 4-2 alongside Arellano University, Lyceum of the Philippines University, and Mapua.

Equally impressive on the floor was playmaker Cloanne Mondoñedo who also came away with a solid performance for Benilde with 17 excellent sets and matched Gentapa’s two blocks.

Nitura finished with 11 points while Lea Tapang also scored 11 points to go along with six digs for the Lady Knights.

Cha Cuñada, who was only fielded in the first and third sets, could only muster five points, the same scoring output LJ Isar, Angelique Ledesma, and setter Natalie Estreller also had.

The Lady Altas bombarded the Lady Red Spikers with 10 of their 16 service aces in the first set and weathered the Mendiola-based side’s gallant third-set stand to prevail.

Mary Rhose Dapol had 20 points, including the go-ahead kill that shattered the match’s last deadlock at 23-23, and collected 10 digs to lead Perpetual. Dapol had six of the Lady Altas’ 16 aces.

Playmaker Patchie Cenzon and Francesca Salangsang, who entered only in the third set, kept San Beda in the match but an attack error closed out the one-hour, 19-minute contest.

Shai Omipon and Winnie Bedaña each had 11 points, setter Jhasmine Sapin tossed in 16 excellent sets while libero Tracy Andal had 19 digs and 13 receptions for Perpetual.

It was a twin kill for the Altas, as the three-peat-seeking men’s team, behind Louie Ramirez’s 23-kill, seven-dig outing, beat the Red Spikers, 20-25, 25-23, 25-17, 25-16, to extend its perfect run to six matches. Perpetual has actually won 28 in a row since the 2018 Finals.

Jeff Marapoc added 16 points while Michael Medalla had two blocks for a nine-point effort for the Altas.

(Amado Inigo/MTVN)

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