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Arellano outlasts Benilde

By Kristel Satumbaga

Arellano leaned on its rock-solid defense and dethroned College of St. Benilde, 25-22, 28-26, 25-23, to claim the second and last finals berth in the NCAA men’s volleyball competition at The Arena in San Juan City.

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The Chiefs produced 12 blocks, five each from Christian Segovia and Kevin Liberato, to arrange a best-of-three final showdown with the University of Perpetual Help Altas.

This will be Arellano’s first finals appearance since 2011.

Though the match lasted only three sets, it was still filled with drama as the second and third sets were extended.

In the third set, the Chiefs survived three match points before sealing the win – thanks to a combination play from Christian Dela Paz.

Dela Paz paced the Chiefs with 15 points, including 11 hits, while Kevin Liberato added 12 points built on seven kills and five blocks.

Isaah Arda topscored with 21 points in a losing effort for St. Benilde.

Game 1 of the Finals is on Friday at the same venue.

In juniors’ play, Perpetual booked a return trip to the finals while Letran lived for another day after beating their respective rivals.

The second-seeded Junior Altas bested No. 3 Arellano Braves, 25-17, 20-25, 25-19, 25-17, while the fourth-ranked Squires shocked top seed Emilio Aguinaldo College Brigadiers, 21-25, 25-20, 25-13, 25-13.