The De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) Lady Blazers swept the Colegio de San Juan de Letran (CSJL) Lady Knights, 3-0, to book a ticket to the final four, while the Benilde Blazers failed to overcome the Letran Knights, 1-3, on March 10, at the San Andres Sports Complex in Malate, Manila.
Coming off back-to-back five setter games, the Lady Blazers were on a mission to keep today’s matchup quick and short. Facing off against the Lady Knights, the first set saw the Taft team trail, 1-4, after hard hits from opposing hitter Lea Tapang. The Lady Blazers, headed by Jade Gentapa and Gayle Pascual, went over the hump quickly to reclaim the lead from the Lady Knights, 6-4. After the short intermission, the Lady Blazers continued to add to their lead, thanks to their outstanding floor defense and consecutive errors by the Lady Knights, 11-6. The Lady Knights would make a brief comeback, which would be stopped immediately by a hard spike from Wielyn Estoque and a service ace from Mich Gamit. The Lady Blazers would buckle onto the lead to win the set, 25-19.
In the following set, the Lady Blazers remained hot from the field, after an early seven-to-one run to start the set. It was rookie Zamantha Nolasco and team captain Cloanne Mondonedo that took charge of the Taft squad’s offense after consecutive blocks and hard hitting spikes. On the other hand, the Lady Knights would try to comeback early in the set, headed by middle blocker Angelique Ledesma, trimming the Lady Blazers’ lead to just four, 10-6. However, the ladies in green and white would never look back after extending their lead to thirteen, 19-6. The Taft squad would win the set, 25-18.
The third set was a different story for both teams, it was a back and forth affair throughout the set. The Lady Knights were first on the board after a soft touch from rookie Judiel Nitura and a service ace from Nat Estreller, on the other side, Pascual answered back with a cross court spike, while Gamit added to the Lady Blazers' score and gave them the lead with a gentle hit and a kill block, 4-3. In a more contested set, the Lady Knights mainly relied on Tapang, Ledesma, Nitura and Chamberlaine Cunada, while the Taft squad had to dig deep, receiving equal contributions from Mondonedo, Pascual, Gamit, and Gentapa. A kill block from Gentapa would lift the Lady Blazers over the Lady Knights, winning the set, 25-22.
Pascual was hailed player of the game after dropping 17 points, alongside 15 attacks, and two blocks.
Meanwhile, the Benilde Blazers floored the court next facing the Letran Knights. The Taft squad aimed to add another win to their record in their bids to make it to the final four. The first set began with a Letran error to give the Blazers their first point, while the Taft squad gave the Knights their first point after an overpowered block by James Laguit. In a highly competitive set, the Benilde Blazers would outclass the Knights, headed by team captain Georgie Gauani, Ryan Daculan and Leonard Jaboli to win the set, 25-19.
In what looked like a promising game for the Blazers, things immediately went the wrong direction for the Taft squad. The opening set would be the only set the Blazers would win, dropping the next three. In an error-heavy ball game, the Knights took advantage, where the onslaught was spearheaded by Romdel Canzanam who earned player of the game honors after dropping 13 points, 13 attacks, nine excellent digs and four excellent receptions. The Knights would win the second and succeeding sets with a set scores of, 21-25, 21-25 and 15-25. The Blazers drop their seventh game of the season, adding another loss to their record.
The Lady Blazers and Benilde Blazers are set to face the Arellano University (AU) Lady Chiefs and Chiefs on Wednesday, March 15, at the same venue. The game will also be aired live on the NCAA Philippines social media pages.
Lady Blazers vs Lady Knights: 25-19, 25-18, 25-22
Blazers vs Knights: 25-19, 21-25, 21-25, 15-25