MANILA, Philippines – After a 4-year absence, the College of St. Benilde Lady Blazers returned to the Shakey’s V-League with a hard-earned first victory over the Southwestern University Lady Cobras on Tuesday, April 1 in the the V-League’s First Conference of Season 11.
It was a 5-set affair at the Arena in San Juan as Benilde, who last played in the V-League in 2010, managed to hold their ground against a gritty stand by the Lady Cobras for a 25-23, 25-23, 15-25, 23-25, 15-9 win in Group A action.
The Lady Blazers were fittingly blazing out of the gates for an early 2-set leader over Southwestern despite missing the services of one of their primary scorers Jannine Navarro, who is said to be dealing with health issues.
They faltered, however, in the third set as Southwestern found their stride, burying the Lady Blazers 25-15, thanks to their net defense and untimely miscommunications on the floor for Benilde.
Those miscommunications on receiving persisted for the Lady Blazers in the fourth frame where they squandered a 19-13 lead and allowed Southwestern to rally and make 19-18. But back to back points by Jeanette Panaga on a kill and a service ace steadied the rocking ship of Benilde. Panaga finished with 20 markers.
The Lady Blazers eventually seized control of the fifth in spite the best efforts of the Lady Cobras to stick with their opponents and bounce back from a loss. But the Cebu-based school failed to sustain their first game triumph as Benilde scored the final point and broke down Southwestern’s defense once again, much like they did all game long.
Benilde, a team that finished third in the recent Season 89 of the NCAA, won despite the whopping 42 points they gave away to the Lady Cobras for their errors. Southwestern, now sporting a 1-2 slate, limited their errors to 27.
Blocking went the way of Southwestern, 12-8, while Benilde made good effort from the service deck with 14 aces.
Therese Veronas led the attack of Benilde with 24 points and 19 of the team’s total 54 spikes. Maureen Loren added 16 points as well.
For Southwestern, Janelle Cabahug tried carrying the squad with 17 markers. But she had little support as guest player Lutgarda Malaluan and Dyan Darantinao added only 13 and 11 points, respectively.
St. Benilde: Veronas 24, Panaga 20, Loren 16, Yongco 8, Musa 3, Cheng 3, Ramos 1, Gequillana 1.
Southwestern: Cabahug 17, Malaluan 13, Darantinao 11, Villanueva 6, Llagoso 5, Bongo 4, Derder 3, Quino 2, Dela Llana 2.
Set scores: 25-23, 25-23, 15-25, 23-25, 15-9.