The De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) Lady Blazers were outlasted by the Arellano University (AU) Lady Chiefs in a thrilling five-set match (3-2), ending the Taft squad’s hopes of a back-to-back championship in the 92nd Season of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Volleyball tournament yesterday, Feb. 3, at Filoil Flying V Arena, San Juan.
The Lady Blazers started the match strong with excellent blocks and attacks, keeping the pace and control of the set on their side, eventually pulling away to end the first set six points ahead (25-19). Shaken from the attacks and their loss in the first set, the Arellano Lady Chiefs seemed to have adjusted easily to the strong performance of the Blazers and eventually pulled off a stronger play in the second set (23-25).
With the odds moving back and forth between both teams, the Blazers managed a 2-1 advantage in the third set (25-19). However, the Lady Chiefs managed to exploit the green and white’s weak points, successfully executing better offensive maneuvers against the Blazers’ unstable defense. As the defending champs struggled desperately to catch up, Arellano University took advantage of the moment and outplayed the Blazers, sealing the game in the last two sets (13-25, 9-15).
Last season’s MVP and Blazers Team Captain Jeanette Panaga lead the green and white, scoring 22 points total, together with Arianne Daguil with 12 attack points. Ranya Musa, Rachel Austero, and Angela Enginco closed the season with 11 points each for the team.
The Lady Chiefs will now face the San Sebastian Lady Stags in the Finals.
Photos by Joriel Bataan