COLLEGE of Saint Benilde worked on its defense to stymie Far Eastern U’s attacks then flourished in transition plays to take a step closer to securing the V-League Women’s Collegiate Challenge crown with a 25-18, 25-18, 25-16 victory in the opener of their best-of-three series on Wednesday at the Paco Arena in Manila.
The Lady Blazers kept the Lady Tamaraws’ hitters in check with their solid net and floor defense with no one able to churn out double-digit outputs for the Morayta-based squad. Faida Bakanke finished with just eight points that proved to be the leading score for FEU.
In contrast, CSB drew 13 and 12 points from Jade Gentapa and Gayle Pascual, respectively, with the latter capping her remarkable all-around stint with 10 excellent digs.
“We have to strengthen our defense especially on blocking. So far, it worked in Game 1 and we hope we’ll be able to do it again in the next,” CSB assistant coach Jay Chua said.
The Lady Blazers gun for the clincher at 4 p.m. tomorrow (Friday).
Chenie Tagaod and Keisha Bedonia settled for six markers apiece for the Lady Tamaraws.
After dominating the first two sets via the same scoreline, the Lady Blazers raced to a 22-11 bulge in the third and the NCAA champions never looked back to complete the rout.
University of the East charged back in the second and third sets and completed a 28-26, 25-23, 25-23 victory over Perpetual Help to snare the bronze medal in the women’s side.
The Lady Warriors turned it around in the last two frames after going down four and three points midway through the respective sets with team captain Kizzie Madriaga steering the team past the Lady Altas with her strong attacks.
“This is important for the self-esteem of the ladies and having just been practicing for two months, they did pretty well,” said UE assistant coach Obet Vital.
“I saw throughout this V-League season improvements not just individually but also collectively,” he added.
Riza Nogales took control at the middle and produced 14 points on nine attacks and five blocks, while Casiey Dongallo topped the scoring with 22 markers.Madriaga ended up with 18 excellent sets to go with two markers.
Shaila Omipon and Mary Rhose Dapol matched 13-point outputs while Charmaine Ocado six markers for the Las Piñas-based squad in a match that was close throughout.
Meanwhile, Far Eastern University held off Ateneo de Manila University, 25-23, 21-25, 28-26, 25-21, to secure the bronze medal in the men’s side.
After the two teams split the first two sets, the Tamaraws trailed in the next, 6-8, but kept it close before striking back late to seize a 24-22 edge. The Blue Eagles did force extensions behind their own key hits but Andrei Delicana came through with a big cross-court kill to secure the set – and the game edge – for the Morayta-based spikers.
Delicana finished with 15 spikes, including back-to-back attacks that ended the contest. He also had five blocks that helped stymie the Ateneo offense.
Ariel Cacao also shone for FEU as he came up with 21 excellent sets, aiding Jomel Codilla and Lirick Mendoza’s identical 13-hit efforts.
Amil Pacinio led Ateneo with a game-high 24-point output on 22 attacks and two blocks, while Jian Salarzon added 19 markers for the Blue Eagles.