The De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) Lady Blazers stayed undefeated after dominating the Arellano University (AU) Lady Chiefs, 3-0, while the Benilde Blazers absorbed their sixth loss of the season after a 1-3 loss to the Chiefs on March 15 , at the San Andres Sports Complex, Malate, Manila.
Both teams started the game with aggressive attacks, but the top blocking team Arellano denied attacks from the Blazers. Benilde had a five-point run from attack errors and a kill block; however, the Chiefs recovered courtesy of Kim Tan and Carl Berdal. Down by five points at 17-22, the Blazers made a three-point run with Leonard Jaboli and Jacob Herrera. However, the Chiefs claimed the first set, 20-25.
The Blazers struggled to look for opportunities in the second set as the Chiefs asserted both offensive and defensive ends on the floor. Down by 10 points, the Taft squad tried to recover through Jaboli and Georgie Gauani, but an attack error from Benilde concluded the set at 13-25.
Arellano led early in the third set as they successfully blocked attacks from Benilde. A service ace from Gio Jordan initiated the Blazers’ offense, followed by successful attacks from Gauani and Jaboli. Jordan’s offensive efforts changed the momentum and took the lead for the first time in the set. Errors from the Chiefs allowed Benilde to come back and take the third set, 25-21.
Jaboli, Jordan, and Gauani led the Blazers as they were down by three early in the set. The Chiefs pulled away early after the first technical timeout led by Berdal and Anffernee Curamen. Gauani and Jaboli tried to keep the Blazers afloat but struggled to answer Arellano’s tirades, closing the final set at 14-25.
Meanwhile, the Lady Blazers faced their championship rival, the Arellano Lady Chiefs. Both teams were in a nip-and-tuck affair, leading to a 7-7 tie after Arellano's successful block touch challenge. Jade Gentapa started her series of attacks to break away from Arellano. Up by four points, Mich Gamit scored two quick aces while Gentapa continued to attack, scoring a total of 10 points in the set. Two consecutive kill blocks from Zamantha Nolasco secured the first set for the Lady Blazers, 25-15.
The Chiefs started aggressively in the second set as Marianne Padillon sent out strong attacks. Lady Blazers Jessa Dorog and Gamit led the attacks to prevent a lead. Trina Abay provided two kill blocks from the Lady Chiefs, shutting down attempts from Benilde. Down by two points, Cloanne Mondoñedo and Wielyn Estoque brought the score into a deadlock, but the Chiefs were able to take the lead heading into the second technical timeout. The Taft squad began to take over with Gayle Pascual’s consecutive hits, but Arellano answered with another deadlock at 21-21. In the final stretch of the set, Gentapa took over the offense while Gamit scored two service aces, 25-21.
The third set was a close one, which led to another Lady Chiefs lead. Benilde closed out with Gentapa, and Pascual eventually tied at 15-15. The Lady Blazers had a four-point run courtesy of Pascual, Mondoñedo, and Cristy Ondangan. With a comfortable 22-17 lead by Benilde, Pascual, Mondoñedo, and Gentapa took over the game and secured the sweep for Benilde, 25-19.
The Lady Blazers sealed its Final Four ticket and remained unblemished at 8-0 while the Blazers added another loss to their record at 2-6.
The Benilde Blazers and Lady Blazers will face the Jose Rizal University (JRU) Heavy Bombers at the same venue on Sunday, March 19. The game will also be aired live on the NCAA Philippines social media pages.
Blazers vs Chiefs: 20-25, 13-25, 25-21, 14-25
Lady Blazers vs Lady Chiefs: 25-15, 25-21, 25-19