Grethcel Soltones took charge in the decider, pumping in key hits as San Sebastian College wore down Technological Institute of the Philippines, 25-22, 13-25, 25-18, 16-25, 15-7, on Monday to clinch the first quarterfinal berth in Group A of the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Collegiate Conference at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
The Lady Stags came out of a harrowing fourth set defeat with guns blazing with Soltones, the Open Conference and reigning NCAA MVP, atoning for a so-so stint in the fourth frame with a fiery windup, steering the team to leads of 9-4 and 13-5 leads on their way to victory in 1:48.
SSC thus closed out the single round elims among five teams with a 3-1 card, formalizing its stint in the next round of the mid-season conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s.
“She (Soltones) started to tire out in the middle of the match but she got her second wind in the fifth that really saved us,” said San Sebastian assistant coach Clint Malazo.
The Lady Engineers fell to 2-2 but still assured of at least a playoff for the last quarters berth in the tournament backed by MIkasa as official ball and Accel as official outfitter.
Soltones unloaded 26 kills and added two blocks for a game-high 28-hit output while Katherine Villegas and Denice Lim added 11 markers apiece and Joyce Sta. Rita added 10 points and Daureen Santos chipped in eight hits to underscore SSC’s balanced offensive sock.
The Lady Stags warded off the Lady Engineers to take the opening set but the latter pounced on the former’s listless stint in the next to draw level. With Soltones slowing down, SSC went to Villegas, Lim and company to move ahead again at 2-1.
But TIP cashed in on SSC’s erratic plays to dominate the fourth and force a decider only to fizzle out in the face of Soltones’ scorching finish that saw her unleash six kills.
Guest player Mylene Paat fired 17 hits, Gayle Layug knocked in 13 points while Faith Maturan added 10 markers for TIP, which succumbed to the power-hitting SSC, side, 41-56, in spikes but made up with solid serves that netted them 12 aces.