The De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) Lady Blazers outclassed the Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tamaraws, 3-0, to take game one of the 2023 VLeague Collegiate Challenge finals today, Sept. 27 at the Paco Arena Events and Sports Center.
A long rally highlighted the opening minutes of the first set with both squads displaying impeccable floor defense. The score board officially saw a point, after a right corner hit from Lady Tamaraw Faida Bakanke, while it was Jade Gentapa who put a point on the board for the Lady Blazers after a spike through the middle, 1-1. The set would proceed to become a back-and-forth battle between both squads, the Lady Blazers displayed their patented series of plays and attacks headed by Gentapa, Gayle Pascual and Jesse Dorog, while the Lady Tamaraws rode the hot hands of Bakanke. The ladies in green and white would slowly pull away, after banking on the errors of the Lady Tamaraws and a series of hard attacks and service aces, 21-16. Pascual would close out the set after a soft touch, 25-18.
The Lady Blazers continued to dominate the ball game early in the second, taking an early two point lead, 4-2. Although when things seemed to trend towards the green and white side, Lady Tamaraw Mitzi Panangin made sure to keep the game close after two straight successful hits. Despite the hot hand, Pascual kept things afloat for the Lady Blazers, answering back with hits of her own, 6-6. The Taft squad would once again slowly build a cushion, this time headed by Cloanne Mondonedo and Zamantha Nolasco, 11-8. Despite the Lady Tamaraws closing the gap, the Lady Blazers displayed championship composure to close out the set, 25-18.
The third set started off similarly to the previous sets, a close and back and forth battle between both squads. Despite the grudge match early in the set, the Lady Blazers once again banked on the errors of the Lady Tamaraws to pile up points and slowly pull away, creating a three point lead, 10-7. The Taft squad would never look back and would continue to put on a masterclass headed by the core of Dorog, Gamit, Gentapa, Mondonedo, Pascual and Nolasco, closing out the ball game, 25-16.
Pascual was named player of the game after dropping 12 points, 11 attacks, 10 digs and a service ace. Gentapa and Nolasco also figured themselves in double figures after dropping 13 and 10 points respectively.
The Lady Blazers look to bring home the championship as they face the FEU Lady Tamaraws at the same venue on Friday, Sept. 29, at the Paco Arena Events and Sports Center. The game will be streamed live at the V-League website, Facebook and Youtube, and Solar Sports.
DLS-CSB (3): Gentapa 13, Pascual 12, Nolasco 10, Gamit 9, Dorog 4, Mondonedo 3, Basarte 0, Borromeo 0, Catarig 0, Densig 0, Estenzo 0, Estoque 0, Getigan 0
FEU (0): Bakanke 8, Bedonia 6, Tagaod 6, Panangin 5, Petallo 5, Truz 4, Asis 2, Ellarina 2, Encarnacion 1, Gallo 0, Juanco 0, Papa 0, Medina 0, Ubando 0