CSB completes rare second-season sweep

CSB completes rare second-season sweep

Game Sunday:
(Filoil EcoOil Centre)
2 p.m. – Perpetual vs San Beda (Men’s Finals)

MANILA – Two straight wins in the best-of-three finals, and two straight seasons of dominance of the National Collegiate Athletic Association women’s volleyball tournament. That all but completed a rare second-season sweep for the College of St. Benilde.

Yes, it was not as easy and well-paved to speak, of the road leading to College of Saint Benilde’s second straight dominance of the country’s oldest school league compared to last year but the Lady Blazer’s back-to-back championship was simply worth it.

In Game 2, the Lady Blazers were their usual menacing selves on Friday (14 April 2023) as they shellacked the Lyceum of the Philippines University Lady Pirates, 25-19, 25-11, 25-20 to complete a sweep of the distaff volleyball diadem in the 98th season of the NCAA at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.

Fittingly, their second straight season conquest came as a priceless birthday gift to CSB coach Jerry Yee who opted to celebrate his natal day on the court.

Last season, CSB dropped but a single, a huge departure as the Lady Blazers got stretched to the hilt twice in the form of arduous twin five-setters.

But yes, those tested much of their character and composure under pressure as CSB went on to complete another perfect season, a challenging one in fact, as the Lady Blazers bucked the loss of last year’s MVP Mycah Go due to a knee injury weeks before the start of the season.

Nevertheless, the Lady Blazers annexed their third title overall.

Benilde also extended its remarkable winning streak to 29 dating back to the 2020 season.

“Excited and masaya as always,” Yee told the working media. “For us, mailusot namin ang taon na ito ang probably okay na kami in the coming years. Ang hirap ng competition ngayon, lahat nag-improve. I’m happy na nakuha pa rin namin,” he added.

True enough, the Lady Pirates reached the Finals for the first time ever, but their efforts were not enough to unseat the Lady Blazers.

Gayle Pascual, the newly-minted Best Opposite Spiker award, dropped 15 points to lead the way for Benilde.

Jade Gentapa finished with 13 kills and 11 digs to become the Finals MVP to go along with the 2nd Best Outside Spiker award for the Lady Blazers, who have won five straight Finals matches since their historic 2016 title romp.

Benilde captain Cloanne Mondoñedo had 23 excellent sets to outplay LPU’s two-time Best Setter Venice Puzon, who could only muster 12.

Zam Nolasco logged all the Lady Blazers’ three blocks.

Johna Dolorito had 11 points and nine receptions while Joan Doguna added nine points and six digs for the Lady Pirates.

In the men’s division, San Beda snapped Perpetual’s 32-game winning streak with a stunning 17-25, 25-27, 25-22, 25-23, 15-11 victory, sending the series to a rubber match.

The Red Spikers overcame season MVP Louie Ramirez’s 32-point explosion to hand the three-peat-seeking Altas their first loss since Feb. 16, 2018.

Game 3 is on Sunday at the San Juan arena.

Ralph Cabalsa had 19 points and seven digs, Kenrod Umali also scored 19 points to go along with 10 receptions while setter Jerome Lopez tossed in 33 excellent sets and fired two service aces for San Beda.

Ramirez, who had team-highs four blocks and four service aces and collected five digs, valiantly battled cramps and tried to tow Perpetual from completing a perfect season before falling short.

The Red Spikers, whose previous Finals stint ended up in a loss to the Altas in 2012, hope to go all the way this time to bag their first-ever championship.

San Beda will make its first Game 3 appearance since losing to Letran in the 2009 Finals, where its current coach Ariel dela Cruz was part of the champion squad.

“Ang sabi ko nga kailangan naming mag-trabaho. From the start naman, nag-practice kami ng service receive. Ang sabi ko, kapag may receive tayo, makaka-atake tayo ng maayos, makaka-execute tayo ng play ng maayos, mas madali sa atin,” said Dela Cruz.

Lorenz Calayag had three blocks for a 15-point outing while Justine Santos added 12 points, including four blocks, for the Red Spikers.

Joshua Zareno was the other Perpetual player in double digits with 10 points.

(Amado Inigo/MTVN)


SWEET VICTORY: Benilde completes a second straight NCAA women’s volleyball season. NCAA-GMA PHOTO

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