College of Saint Benilde posted a thrilling 25-22 25-23 22-25 25-22 win over San Sebastian College to claim its first-ever championship title on Thursday in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 91 women’s volleyball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
Open hitter Janine Navarro led the Lady Blazers with 18 attacks while middle hitters Ranya Musa and reigning Best Blocker Jeanette Panaga contributed 17 and 16 points, respectively. “Dumaan kami sa butas ng karayom bago makuha ito. Masarap ang feeling dahil ito na yung pinakahihintay namin. Lahat ng paghihirap namin nasuklian. ‘Yun ang testament ng team namin, hindi kami sumuko kahit gaano kahirap. Lahat ibinigay nila para makuha namin ito,” said Benilde head coach Michael Cariño.
The Lady Blazers wrapped up the series with a 3-1 record. They also won in Game 1 (24-26, 25-21, 25-19, 25-13) and Game 2 (25-23, 21-25, 25-22, 25-16) while San Sebastian grabbed the Game 3 (25-22, 25-19, 26-28, 25-23).
Benilde won a total of 47 attacks and 13 huge blocks including seven from Panaga and four from Musa while team captain Djanel Welch Cheng delivered 19 excellent sets. “Same lang ang ginawa namin sa Game 1 and Game 2. Mas nag-enjoy lang kami sa Game 4. Kailangan pag naglalaro ka buong buo ang puso mo, ‘yun ang importante,” stressed Cheng, who will be graduating this season.
Panaga was named Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) while Cariño bagged the Coach of the Year award. “Hindi ko ini-expect basta kami laro lang. ‘Yung focus namin andun kaya naging maganda ang resulta ng laro namin. Masaya kami na nakagawa na kami ng history para sa CSB community,” Panaga said.
San Sebastian got 19 points from back-to-back season MVP Grethcel Soltones while Denise Lim and Nikka Dalisay combined for 19 points. The Lady Stags were actually ahead in digging department with 45 lifts and service line with six aces. But they committed 33 unforced errors mostly on the attack line.
Early this week, University of Perpetual Help System DALTA pocked the juniors and men’s titles.