Defending champion St. Benilde and San Beda College (SBC) seek to stay in the title hunt as the two clash today in the first stepladder semis in the women’s division of the 92nd NCAA volleyball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan City.
The Lady Blazers, out to retain the title they won last year by stunning the San Sebastian Lady Stags, clinched the No. 3 seeding by beating the Red Spikers, 25-19, 25-23, 17-25, 25-18, in a playoff Friday.
The winner of their 4 p.m. showdown will advance to the next stepladder game against Arellano U, which is ensured of a twice-to-beat advantage for finishing second after the elimination round, on Friday.
St. Benilde coach Macky Carino said they are in familiar territory.
“We’ve been in this kind of situation before like what happened last year when came all the way back from No. 4 to become champion. We hope we could do it again,” said Carino, who beat Perpetual Help and Arellano in the stepladder semis before shocking San Sebastian in the finals to win it all a season back, in Filipino.
In men’s action, St. Benilde and reigning titlist Perpetual Help tries to arrange a best-of-three title showdown as the two tackle Arellano U and San Beda at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., respectively.
The Blazers trounced the Altas, 25-21, 25-23, 25-14, Friday to seal the top seeding while the latter slid to No. 2.
In juniors’ action, Emilio Aguinaldo shoots to forge a title duel with Lyceum of the Philippines U as it squares off with last year’s winner Perpetual Help at 9 a.m.
The Brigadiers will enjoy a twice-to-beat edge for ending up at No. 2 while the Junior Altas, who eliminated the Juniors Chiefs, 25-18, 25-23, 25-14, in the first stepladder semis Friday, will have to beat the former two straight to advance.
The Junior Pirates leapt straight to the finals after sweeping the elims in seven games.
LPU also clinched a thrice-to-beat advantage in the process.