Despite losing the first set, the Arellano Lady Chiefs claimed their third-straight NCAA women’s volleyball championship over the gutsy Perpetual Lady Altas in four sets in their match on Tuesday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan City.
The Lady Chiefs raced to a 5-1 lead early in the first set but the Lady Altas closed the gap to 5-4. Arellano responded with a 9-3 run to stretch the lead to 14-7. The squad of Coach Obet Javier were poised to take the set easily before the Lady Altas embarked on a 9-2 run to even the count at 16. With the score tied at 17, Perpetual completed a 3-0 scoring run to open up a gap that they will hold on to until the end of the set.
A cross court spike by Cindy Imbo brought the Lady Altas to within set point but a service error by Jowie Albert Versoza gave Arellano life. Set one ended at 25-22 for Perpetual with a free ball attempt by Shyra Umandal that landed just inside the service line. Perpetual compensated with their advantage in unforced errors (9-6) with a whopping 14-5 margin in attack points.
From an 8-8 deadlock in the second set, the Lady Chiefs collected three quick points to open a gap. However, the Lady Altas caught up at 14-13. Arellano responded with a furious 10-1 run punctuated by an attack error by Imbo brought the Lady Chiefs to set point. A successful attack by Umandal took one set point back but a spike by season MVP Necole Ebuen that landed in Zone 6 gave them set two, 25-15. Arellano had the edge in spikes (12-8) and service aces (3-0).
Set three was a wire-to-wire victory for the two-time defending champions. They turned a 4-3 advantage into 10-4 blowout and never looked back. Perpetual made one last push with an 8-2 run from a 21-10 deficit but a spike by Princess Bello went through the blockers to give Arellano set point. An Imbo spike that glanced the antenna pushed the Lady Chiefs to within one set away from the championship, 25-18.
Championship set for Arellano University
The Lady Chiefs jumped to an 8-3 edge in set four before a service ace by Necelle Mae Gual trimmed the lead to 9-8. The Lady Altas regained the lead at 13-11 with a service ace by Umandal. But an 11-0 run by Arellano placed them to within three points of another title. Perpetual took one point back but Bello made another on-target strike to bring the count to 23-15.
An attack by Ebuen gave the Lady Chiefs championship point but an error by Rhea Ramirez gave Perpetual life. However, Gaviola’s service error ended the fourth set and the match at 25-18 for Arellano.
The Arellano Lady Chiefs were the fourth NCAA team to win three straight women’s volleyball titles. They also prevented the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta from clinching a Grand Slam in the Season 94 volleyball competitions. Regina Arocha is awarded her second-straight Finals MVP while Javier won Coach of the Year honors.