THREE-PEAT seeking Arellano University is aware of what University of Perpetual Help System Dalta can offer after hurdling three consecutive do-or-die matches to make it to the NCAA women’s volleyball championship.
The Lady Chiefs may have won their elimination round duel with the Lady Altas last Jan. 10, but coach Obet Javier is not taking any chances given their opponents’ never-say-die attitude.
“Kailangan talaga kaming mag-trabaho. Dapat ibigay ang 100 percent nila,” said Javier.
Arellano and Perpetual Help, meeting in the Finals for the first time since 2014, open their best-of-three series at 4 p.m. today at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
The last time the two teams met in the league’s biggest stage, Honey Royse Tubino sizzled 35 points in her final collegiate game to power the Lady Altas to a three-peat against the Lady Chiefs, who were then a first-time finalist, in the series that went the distance.
Since then, Arellano became the NCAA’s dynasty in women’s volleyball, winning three titles in the last four seasons.
Not given a chance before the start of the season, Perpetual Help made it this far.
While the Lady Chiefs swept San Beda, the Lady Altas beat top-ranked College of Saint Benilde twice - all via come-from-behind fashions - in the Final Four.
The architect of the Lady Blazers’ improbable championship run in 2016, coach Macky Cariño is determined to do it again, this time for the Las Piñas-based squad.
“Mas lalo naming kakapitan, mas lalo naming titibayan kasi Finals na iyan eh. Ang hirap ng pinagdaanan namin. Kami praktisado na, ’yung kalaban, nagpahinga ng matagal,” said Cariño.
Perpetual Help hopes that do-it-all Cindy Imbo, Yanca Tripoli, Jowie Verzosa and setter Necelle Gual will end their careers as champions. The four players were not yet around when the Lady Altas last became the queens.
“Sinabi ko sa mga graduating players na huwag na huwag aalis na walang legacy na maiiwan sa team. Sobrang bagay iyon, mababalikan mo iyon,” said Cariño.
Perpetual Help is eyeing a golden treble as its men’s and juniors’ teams begin their Finals series against St. Benilde and Letran, respectively.