The NCAA women’s volleyball tournament has been shaded by the Arellano Lady Chiefs’ cloud of dominance over the past four years.
Dating back their first championship in 2015, the perennial powerhouse has produced the likes of CJ Rosario, Shirley Salamagos, Jovelyn Prado and Ria Sante who are now playing in local semi-pro leagues. But while their ability to develop talented players is already established, it seems that they are not giving up the throne anytime soon. Bannered by the likes of Nicole Ebuen, Rhea Ramirez and last year’s Finals MVP Regine Arocha, they are as potent as they were when Arellano dynasty started.
The Lady Chiefs are on a 12-game winning streak dating back to February 1, 2018 and they have yet to suffer defeat in NCAA Season 94. Just one win away from an automatic Finals bid, they haven’t been shy in sharing their goal of running the table during the eliminations. “Yes, target namin talaga ang sweep this season at sana makuha namin,” said Lady Chiefs head coach Obet Javier.
But while players constantly come and go for Coach Javier and the Lady Chiefs, there hasn’t been an imposing threat to their commanding run. What’s their secret? Coach Javier answered, “Right practice lang dapat palagi. Never stop improving. Never stop learning.”
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Even though the San Beda Red Lady Spikers are the only team standing in their quest for a sweep, they are not thinking about the possibility of entering another championship series yet again. “As of now, hindi ko pa iniisip yung finals. Ang importante is yun last game against San Beda.”
The soft spoken mentor didn’t give a preferred opponent for the title as well. “All teams in the Final Four are contenders, so mahirap sabihin sino”, he replied.
Completing the sweep has been alluded to by last year’s Finals MVP Regine Arocha. “Yes, sweep talaga ang target namin. Masweep ang eliminations then saka na namin paghahandaan ang finals.”
As a veteran with numerous commercial league experience, she too added an ingredient to the Lady Chiefs’ recipe for success. “Sinasabi ko palagi sa kanila na unang una magtiwala sila sa sarili nila at pangalwa sa kakampi nila. Maglaro ng may puso at isip. Maniwala lang sila na kaya nila at magagawa nila yun.”
Kahit mahirap basta kumpleto walang hindi kakayanin! 💯✔
— RA (@RArocha13) January 12, 2019
In contrast to coach Javier, the 4th year open spiker from Angono, Rizal gave a clear answer on who they want to defend their title against. “CSB (Lady Blazers). Kasi sa nakikita namin na nilalaro nila, parang sila yung aangat at the end.”
It can be remembered that the fourth-seed Lady Blazers edged the Lady Chiefs in the knock-out semifinal match in Season 91. With a stellar effort of Finals MVP Jeanette Panaga, the squad of coach Michael Carino eventually won the title despite a thrice-to-beat disadvantage against Grethcel Soltones and the San Sebastian Lady Stags.
With a disciplined system instilled by Coach Obet and the level of belief that Arocha and the other players imbibe, the Arellano Lady Chiefs will continue to occupy the summit of NCAA women’s volleyball.