NCAA volleyball: Arellano back in finals after ousting JRU

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The Arellano Lady Chiefs celebrate their return to the NCAA Volleyball Finals. NCAA/GMA PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Arellano University defeated Jose Rizal U, 19-25, 25-20, 27-25, 25-17 to advance to the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Finals for the fourth consecutive season on Sunday at the Filoil Flying V Center.

The Lady Bombers simply ran out of gas in the fourth set as the Lady Chiefs took a 24-12 lead and never looked back.

Next up for Arellano in search of four rounds is the undefeated College of Saint Benilde in the best-of-three championship series starting Wednesday.

The Lady Blazers went straight to the final after completing a nine-game elimination sweep, including a 25-15, 25-15, 25-14 win over the Lady Chiefs on July 19.

“It’s a good challenge for us,” Arellano coach Obet Javier told the Filipino.

Pau de Guzman had 19 points, including three service aces, Trina Abay had three blocks for a 14-point outing, while Carla Donato also had three blocks to finish with 13 points for the Lady Chiefs.

Arellano also got huge games from Nicole Sasuman, who had 12 points, and Charmina Diño, who fired two aces for an 11-point effort and had 16 digs.

Representing the new breed of Lady Chiefs to fill the void left by Regine Arocha, Nicole Ebuen and Andrea Marzan, the young side led by De Guzman are eager to play on the biggest stage in the league.

“Whatever our seniors led by Ate Regine have achieved, I know we can do it too,” said second-year striker De Guzman.

JRU took a 25-24 lead after a successful block touch challenge late in the third set but couldn’t get the job done as Abay scored a quick kill and Sasuman netted an ace of service for Arellano to reach the set point, 26-25.

The Lady Bombers committed a double contact violation on the next rally for a 2-1 Lady Chiefs lead.

Reaching the top three in a stacked field, JRU earned its best finish in program history, surpassing fourth-place finish by the Lady Bombers in 2018, led by league MVP Shola Alvarez.

The Lady Bombers still gave graduates Dolly Verzosa and Kia Melgar a good start.

“I’m very happy that JRU reached third place,” said coach Mia Tioseco. “I am very happy that Dolly and Kia were able to achieve this.”

Sydney Niegos led the Lady Bombers with 15 points, including two service aces, while Riza Rose had three blocks and three aces for a nine-point outing.

In their last game for JRU, Verzosa had 10 points and 21 digs while Melgar had nine points. including three blocks.

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