by Kristel Satumbaga
Two-time defending champion Arellano University overpowered San Beda University, 25-18, 25-21, 25-23, yesterday and booked a return trip to the finals for a third straight time in NCAA women’s volleyball at The Arena in San Juan City.
Regine Arocha pumped in 17 points, including 13 kills for Arellano, which exacted revenge on the Lady Red Spikers after denying them of an elimination sweep and an outright finals berth.
Alyana San Gregorio also made her presence felt with 11 points including three aces, while Necole Ebuen and Carla Donato also chipped in 11 points each.
Showing no signs of slowing down despite a twice-to-beat semis advantage, the Lady Chiefs displayed their offensive might in attacks by whipping 41 hits while Donato and Rhea Ramirez joined forces to man the net by merging for six of the team’s 11 blocks.
San Beda had a chance to continue its vengeance on Arellano after losing in the finals last year, but lost their fiery touch despite the persistent attempts of Ces Racraquin and Nieza Viray.
Racraquin and Viray finished with 11 points in a losing effort.
Arellano awaits the winner between College of St. Benilde and University of Perpetual Help, who are battling in the other semis pairing. The Lady Blazers enjoy a twice-to-beat incentive.
Game 1 of the finals will be on Feb. 1.
Meantime, Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) recovered from a lethargic start to stun last year’s finalist Arellano University, 24-26, 8-25, 25-20, 25-18, 21-19, and advance to the stepladder semifinals.
Trailing by two sets, the Generals found their groove in the third with smart plays and whistling shots before keeping their composure in the crunch to remain in contention for the crown.
Back-to-back errors from Arellano gave EAC the match-point advantage before graduating Joshua Mina sealed the win with a quick attack.
Rookie Joshua Ramilo paced the Generals with a game-high 23 points while Mina finished with 20 points.