The De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) Blazers and Lady Blazers faced the Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) Generals and Lady Generals, respectively, on Feb. 22 at the San Andres Sports Complex in Manila. The women’s team won in three sets, while the men’s team suffered their first loss.
The Lady Blazers first entered the court as they went against the Lady Generals. The latter opened the match, making a three-to-nothing run against the defending champions. But Cristy Ondangan did not let them faze their championship attitude as she initiated a spree along with Gayle Pascual’s powerful attacks and Mich Gamit’s defensive blocks, 5-4. EAC’s Alyanna Quijano taunted the ladies in green with a “night night” celly, before the Taft squad left them at 17 to claim the first set, 25-17.
The second set was a close match between the Lady Generals and the Lady Blazers, battling with stronger floor defense and striking attacks. The Ermita squad gave away too many errors for the Taft team to take advantage of, ending the second set with a five-point lead, 25-20.
The Lady Blazers had an easy final set as they quickly scored 15 straight points to open up a huge 15-1 lead, again leaving the Lady Generals behind and preventing them from catching up as the Lady Blazers won in three straight sets, 25-8.
Jade Gentapa led the team with 12 attacks of 13 total tallied points, while Ondangan was also able to chip in nine points, including three blocks.
The final game of the day went longer than expected, after an issue with EAC’s rookie BJ Cabrera who was wearing jersey number 18, which was not aligned with the recorded number in the NCAA system. After half an hour of decision-making, the committee finally decided to give the team a warning and asked them to reprint a jersey with the correct jersey number as stated in the system. Cabrera was then restricted from playing until the team changed his jersey number to 19, as registered in the system.
The commotion happened in the third set where the Blazers led by three, 21-18. The Generals were already able to take the first two sets, 14-25, 22-25. Although the Blazers were only four points away from extending the game, the men in red and white still managed to recover from the 30-minute delay, taking the Blazers down in three straight sets, 23-25.
Ryan Daculan led the Taft squad with 12 points, including five defensive blocks.
The #BenildeBlazers and #LadyBlazers are set to face the San Beda Red and Lady Spikers on Saturday, Feb, 25, at the same venue. The games will be aired live on the NCAA Philippines social media pages.