Lady Altas stun Lady Blazers to force Final Four rubber match

The CSB Lady Blazers were poised to extend their match against the Perpetual Lady Altas to a fifth set when an Arianne Daguil spike found the sideline, making the count 22-14 to CSB’s favor. But for the Perpetual Lady Altas, the set was not yet over. Preventing a total shift in momentum, the squad of Coach Michael Carino embarked on a monumental 11-1 run to take the fourth set and the match against the NCAA Season 94 top seed, 25-23.

CSB and Perpetual fought neck-and-neck in the early stages of the first set. However, the Lady Altas pulled away with a 4-1 run from a 9-9 deadlock. The Lady Blazers came to within a point, 13-12, but a net touch by Klarisa Abriam doubled UPHSD’s lead. The advantage went as high as six, 21-15, before the squad of Coach Jerry Yee initiated a 7-1 scoring barrage to tie the count at 22.

A kill block by Jenny Gaviola and an attack by Daguil maintained the tie at 23. But an off-speed spike by Joey Versoza and an error by CSB setter Jewel Lai gave the set to the Lady Altas, 25-23. While CSB had a slight advantage in attack points (11-9), they committed ten unforced errors as compared to Perpetual’s six.

The Lady Altas kept their foot on the gas pedal by racing to a 16-5 margin in the second set. But the Lady Blazers scored five unanswered points to chop the deficit to six, 16-10. A side-out game ensued until the tally reached 23-16 before CSB scored four straight points to come to within three, 23-20. The set ended at 25-21 in favor of Perpetual when Jona Rosal’s spike went off the block. The ladies in maroon benefitted from their 5-0 edge in service aces and 14 attack points.

The Lady Blazers held to a 16-13 advantage by the second technical timeout of the third set before the Lady Altas struck with a 4-1 run to level the count at 17. But the ladies in green and white ignited a 6-1 run to put the set out of Perpetual’s reach. A running attack by Rachel Ann Austero brought Benilde to set point and her subsequent quick attack from the middle gave the third set for CSB, 25-20.

Cindy Imbo of the Lady Altas was hailed as the game’s best player with 16 attack points and three service aces. The do-or-die semifinal game between these two teams will be played on January 29, 4 pm at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan City.