Arellano U overwhelmed St. Benilde in a duel of the reigning and former NCAA champions, coming away with an emphatic 25-20, 25-22, 25-17 victory at the start of the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan on Saturday.
Jovielyn Prado blasted in14 hits, spearheading the Lady Chiefs’ attack against the Lady Blazes, whom they beat in the stepladder semifinals on their way to nailing their second NCAA women’s volley crown early this year.
Mary Anne Esguerra backed Prado with 13 markers while Necole Ebuen and Reginal Arocha chipped in nine points apiece and Andrea Marzan added six hits.
Arellano coach Obet Javier credited their early surge to his wards’ stints in the recent PVL Reinforced and Open Conferences of the league organized by Sports Vision.
“I told them to use their PVL experience and help motivate their younger teammates,” said Javier, referring to veterans Prado, Esguerra, Arocha and Marzan.
Playmaker Rhea Ramirez also dished out 34 excellent sets to help fuel the Lady Chiefs’ 47 attack points.
But he stressed the need for his wards to work harder, especially during their training in anticipation of an uphill battle against UP, Technological Institute of the Philippines, San Beda and Adamson in Group B play.
Group A is composed of Ateneo, San Sebastian, National U, Lyceum, Far Eastern U and Jose Rizal U.
St. Benilde, the NCAA champ in 2016, struggled all game with graduating player Ranya Musa and veteran Rachel Austero combining for just 11 points.
Team captain Klarissa Abriam and fellow former National U player Marites Pablo led St. Benilde nine and seven points, respectively.
Earlier, La Salle and UST hurdled their respective rivals to set early pace in the men’s side of the season-ending conference of the league backed by Mikasa and Asics.
The Green Spikers fought back from a set down to turn back the St. Benilde Blazers in a tightly-fought match, 25-27, 26-24, 25-23, 25-22, while the Tigers dominated the UP Maroons, 25-17, 25-22, 25-15, both in Group A.
Teams vying in Group B are National U, San Beda, Ateneo and Far Eastern U, which open their respective campaigns today (Sunday).