(The Arena, San Juan)
9 a.m.- Mapua vs SSC (m)
10:30 a.m.- Mapua vs SSC (w)
12 nn.- Jose Rizal vs LPU (w)
2:30 p.m.- Jose Rizal vs LPU (m)
Defending champion St. Benilde bucked a slow, sloppy start as it turned back an upset-conscious Letran, 25-27, 23-25, 25-22, 7-25, 12-15, yesterday to clinch its second straight win in the women’s division of the 92nd NCAA volleyball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan City.
Last year’s Finals MVP Jeanette Panaga and Ranya Musa, both members of last year’s team that beat the San Sebastian Lady Stags for the title, took torns and fired a game-best 19 hits apiece to power the Lady Blazers to their second win in a row and the solo lead.
It was also the seasoned pair of Panaga and Musa who wrecked the most havoc in St. Benilde’s come-from-behind 17-25, 25-20, 24-26, 17-25 win over Perpetual Help in last week’s opener.
“Credit to Letran, they played a great game and we we were sluggish at the start,” said St. Benilde coach Macky Carino. “Good thing the players refused to give up and just kept fighting.”
Led by Mikaela Lopez and Glayssa Faith Torres, the Michael Inoferio Lady Knights surprised the Lady Blazers by stealing the first two sets and appeared headed to completing a straight set victory after a closely fought third set.
But Panaga and Musa stepped up and willed St. Benilde to take the third set, stay alive and forced a deciding fifth set that it eventually took.
In the other game, San Beda shocked Perpetual Help, 25-19, 20-25, 25-21, 25-21, to seize a share of the lead with St. Bernilde.
Francesca Racraquin unloaded 14 kills while Nieza Viray scattered 11 to hand the Lionesses their second straight triumph.
The Lady Altas, who made it to the Final Four last year, fell to their second straight defeat.
In the men’s side, St. Benilde nailed its first win after routing Letran 25-19, 25-13, 26-24.
Earlier, the Squires trounced the Junior Blazers, 25-16, 25-19, 25-19, to likewise secure their first triumph.