San Sebastian rebounded from a listless performance in the third set and early in the fourth, bundling out University of Santo Tomas, 25-20, 25-18, 16-25, 25-19, to gain a share of second in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Collegiate Conference quarterfinal round at the Philsports Arena in Pasig on Wednesday.
Grethcel Soltones came out of sickbay to pump in 23 hits, including 21 attack points, but needed to take charge again late in the fourth to foil the Tigresses’ determined comeback. Joyce Sta. Rita and Katherine Villegas added nine points apiece for the Lady Stags, who moved to joint second with a 2-1 card, counting their 1-1 carryover slate from the elims.
“As team captain, she’s leading by example. She played her hearts out despite coming in sick,” said SSC assistant coach Clint Malaza, referring to his flu-stricken prized hitter.
SSC actually struggled right in the opening frame, trailing, 12-18, before Soltones took over and hammered in kills that the Tigresses had failed to stop or return.
After sweeping the first two sets, the Lady Stags relaxed a bit, enabling the Tigresses to wage a fightback and extend the match. The España-based squad sustained their charge and controlled the fourth until Soltones and company re-grouped and took command midway through.
With its back-to-back losses in the quarters, including a setback to National U at the start of the quarters, UST bowed out of the semis race with a 0-4 card.
But the Tigresses, with a high-schooler leading their charge, proved their worth despite playing without two of their main players—Ennajie Laure and Cherry Rondina—but just couldn’t flash a strong finishing kick.
Guest player Ejiya Laure topscored for UST with 16 hits while Ria Meneses chipped in 11 markers and Caitlyn Viray and Shannel Palec combined for 13 points for the winningest school in the country’s premier women’s volley league sponsored by Shakey’s and backed by Mikasa as official ball and Accel as official outfitter.
The Lady Stags also exploited UST’s faulty service reception, scoring nine aces with Denice Lim accounting for three and Vira Guillema scoring two on top of 47 excellent sets.