The De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) Lady Blazers swept the JoseRizal University (JRU) Lady Bombers, 3-0, while the Blazers and Heavy Bombers battled in a five-set thriller for their final match this season, 2-3, on March 19 at the San Andres Sports Complex in Manila.
The Lady Blazers first entered the court against the Lady Bombers, and the first set went quickly. Although the Lady Bombers got the first point, Zamantha Nolasco, Gayle Pascual, and Jessa Dorog led a nine-to-nothing run leaving the blue team behind at 9-1 before they could score another point, 9-2. The opposing team’s sloppy floor defense led them to the second set early after being only in the game for 17 minutes, 25-10.
The Lady Bombers started the following set more determined, keeping a close game between the defending champions. Team captain Sydney Mae Niegos led their team to maintain a close match with the Lady Blazers, but Jade Gentapa did not let them faze them. Mich Gamit also posted numbers in the late game, ending the set with a four-point lead, 25-21.
To wrap up the match, the Lady Blazers made it seem easy to defend the crown for them once again as they did another quick work of the ladies from JRU. The latter team’s weak reception made it easier for the ladies in green to score with their powerful attacks, mostly courtesy of Gayle Pascual. The match ended in favor of the Taft squad, 25-13, making it their 25th straight win in NCAA history since 2020.
Pascual chipped in 16 total points whilst players of the game Gamit and Nolasco could put in 10 points apiece. Team captain Cloanne Mondoñedo also gave 23 excellent sets for the girls.
The ladies in green and white will now be waiting on top of the tournament as it now shifts to a stepladder format after they were able to sweep the elimination round.
It was almost an hour of waiting for the Blazers to take on the court due to the quick game courtesy of the Lady Blazers. And just as how quickly the ladies pulled it off, the men from Benilde and JRU extend to make it into a five-set thriller.
The Heavy Bombers started strong until the Blazers created a 6-0 run, stealing the momentum from the former. The men from Mandaluyong were in a four-point advantage, 15-19, until team captain Georgie Gauani, and Jio Jordan made it rain with their spikes to make a six-point run, 21-19. The set ended in favor of the Blazers, courtesy of Jericho Fajardo’s excellent sets, 25-23.
The Heavy Bombers reclaimed the momentum in the second set, 20-25, although the Taft team fought it through the third set still, 25-21. Each set was a close match, both looking into each other’s weaknesses.
The fourth set, which was supposed to be a decider in favor of the Blazers, but it was made hard for them as they got weak with reception. James Laguit led the team with his defensive clocks and powerful attacks keeping it close with comrades Gauani and Leonard Jaboli. Although JRU’s Kenneth Daynata was fierce enough to keep up with the Blazers’ fire, making a run to leave the Blazers behind, 21-25, and extending it to the fifth and final set.
The deciding set saw multiple errors committed by the men in green and white, ending it early for the JRU Heavy Bombers, 11-15.
Captain Gauani led the team with 25 points, including 18 attacks, six blocks, and an ace. Laguit, Jaboli, and Jordan also posted double digits with 16, 13, and 10, respectively.
The Blazers end their run in the NCAA Season 98 Men’s Volleyball Tournament with a 2-7 standing.
Lady Blazers vs Lady Bombers: 25-10, 25-21, 25-13
Blazers vs Heavy Bombers: 25-23, 20-25, 25-21, 21-25, 11-15