V-League: SSC escapes Lady Altas in grueling five-setter
MANILA, Philippines – In yet another thrilling five-setter in this tournament, the San Sebastian College Lady Stags captured their first win of the season as they survived University of Perpetual Help System DALTA, 25-18, 17-25, 27-25, 23-25, 15-13, in the First Conference of the Shakey’s V-League Season 11 last Tuesday, April 1 at the Filoil Flying-V Arena in San Juan City.
With no Gretchel Soltones on the bench for the Lady Stags, it was Czarina Berbano who took charge for SSC this time as she poured in 19 markers to lead her squad over the three-time reigning NCAA Volleyball champions in a game that could have gone either way.
Jolina Labiano and guest player Ryzabelle Devanadera also pitched in 16 and 15 for the Recto Avenue crew as they improved to 1-1 to overtake University of Santo Tomas for third place in Pool B.
San Sebastian put on a dazzling start as they took the opening frame, 25-18, but the Lady Altas fought back in the second behind the efforts of Jamela Suyat, who registered a game-high 21 points.
With both squads eyeing for win number 1 in the first conference, SSC and UPHSD traded runs in the third and fourth with the Lady Stags taking a 2-1 set lead after a close 27-25 win in the third canto.
The Lady Altas retaliated in the fourth as they leveled once more following a nail-biting 25-23 win.
SSC coach Roger Gorayeb, who blasted his veterans after the game, breathed a sigh of relief in the fifth after his wards took an 8-3 lead but UPHSD refused to wave the white flag yet as they detonated a 5-1 bomb and cut their deficit to just a point, 8-9.
Berbano and Bea Uy, however, were able to foil the Lady Altas’ plans of a comeback as they delivered clutch points in the homestretch to lead the Lady Stags to a hard-earned five-set win.
Backing up Suyat’s impressive showing are Abigael Praca and Norie Jane Diaz's 18 and 17 points respectively, but they face yet another problem as Maru Banaticla joined Honey Royce Tubino in their injury list.
Meanwhile, Alyssa Eroa had a spectacular night for SSC on defense as she and Berbano combined for 26 excellent digs that made life difficult for the Lady Atlas all-game long.
The Lady Stags face the unbeaten National University next on April 8 while UPHSD – which falls to 0-2 after this game – will try to bounce back against Far Eastern University on April 13.
San Sebastian: Berbano 19, Labiano 16, Devanadera 15, Uy 11, Banaticla 6, Villegas 4, Lim 3
Perpetual: Suyat 21, Praca 18, Diaz 17, Diocareza 10, Bravo 6, Cabriana 4