FOR the third straight year the Arellano Lady Chiefs are the champions in women’s volleyball of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, a product, the team said, of just grabbing every opportunity that were presented to them.
In Game Three of the finals against the lower-seeded Perpetual Help System Dalta Lady Altas, the Lady Chiefs avoided an upset and stayed at the summit of women’s NCAA volleyball by winning in four sets, 22-25, 25-15, 25-18 and 25-18, en route to another title.
The win completed for the Legarda-based team a comeback from going 0-1 down in the best-of-three finals series against Perpetual Help, which was one win away from completing a fairy-tale run in NCAA Season 94.
And that stiff challenge from the Lady Altas played a huge role in the Lady Chiefs’ push, saying it made them wanted it more.
“Perpetual Help challenged us. Because of that we realized what we needed to do and it brought the best out of us,” said Arellano coach Obet Javier in the vernacular as he described how the series was for them following Game Three.
“We just grabbed on every opportunity that was presented to us to set history for the school. All these hard work and accomplishments is for the school,” he added.
In Game Three on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan, Regine Anne Arocha fired a match-best 16 points including five on service aces to help power the Lady Chiefs. It was an effort that also won for Arocha her second straight Finals MVP award.
Princess Bello scattered 12 hits for Arellano while the power-spiking Nicole Ebuen, the newly-crowned season MVP, drilled in 11 points, all coming on kills.
Dominant anew with a third straight title, fourth in the last five seasons, the Lady Chiefs said they are determined to keep it going, more so with the kind of support they have been getting from the school.
“Because of the tremendous support from management we were able to achieve all these. We will try to keep holding on to it and stay on top. Not because we won a three-peat we will stop learning. No. We will continue working hard. We still need to improve on certain things to stay consistent,” Mr. Javier said.
Despite falling short in its title quest, Perpetual Help, for its part, still had a fruitful Season 94 that saw it making it to the Final Four as the fourth seed and bucking a twice-to-beat disadvantage to upset top-seeds College of Saint Benilde Lady Blazers in the semifinals.
The Lady Altas stole the finals series opener from the Lady Chiefs on Feb. 1, 21-25, 25-17, 25-21 and 25-20, to gain the early series lead that led to the rubber match last Tuesday. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo