ARELLANO University overcame a disastrous first set to subdue University of Perpetual Help System Dalta, 22-25, 25-15, 25-18, 25-18, and annex its third straight NCAA women’s volleyball crown yesterday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
The Lady Chiefs won the hard-fought best-of-three series, 2-1, to become the only third team in the league to complete a three-peat.
Now also the third winningest program behind San Sebastian’s 23 and Letran’s eight, Arellano cemented its dynasty, ruling the NCAA for the fourth time in the last five seasons.
The Lady Altas were ahead, 13-11, in the fourth frame when the Lady Chiefs scored 11 consecutive points capped by a Princess Bello ace to post a commanding 22-11 lead.
Perpetual Help, which hurdled four straight do-or-die games to advance to the title round, had a last ditch stand, cutting down the deficit to 17-23 on Yanca Tripoli’s back-to-back kills.
Ebuen’s spike put Arellano at match point before allowing its foes to get a lifeline on a Rhea Ramirez crossing violation.
The Lady Chiefs were able to snatch the victory after Jenny Gaviola’s service aces went outside that spelled doom for the Lady Altas.
Arocha, who struggled early in the season but ended it on a smashing note to become the Finals MVP for the second year in a row, came through with 16 points, including five service aces, and 11 receptions for Arellano.
Bello added 12 hits, including two blocks, 18 digs and three receptions, while season MVP Necole Ebuen and Carla Donato each scored 11 markers for the Lady Arocha.
Coach Obet Javier, the architect of Arellano’s rise as the league powerhouse, praised their foes for pushing them to the limits.
“Kung titignan natin, yung Perpetual Help, mataas ang respeto ko sa kanila. Kasi talagang sinukat nila talaga kami. Pinilit nilang inilabas yung dapat naming mailabas. Nagpapasalamat kami doon Yung pagkatalo namin sa Game 1, malaking bagay yun. Dahil doon natuto kaming bumangon,” said Javier.
In her final game for the Lady Altas, Cindy Imbo had 12 hits and 13 digs while Shyra Umandal and Gaviola added 10 points apiece.
The Lady Chiefs started the match strong with a 14-7 lead when the Lady Altas got into the groove midway in the first set to level at 16-16 on a Jhona Rosal kill.
Arellano pulled away at 20-17 after Arocha nailed a service ace when Perpetual Help, behind Imbo, unrattled six straight points to erect a 23-20 advantage.
The Lady Chiefs never recovered from there and the resilient Lady Altas drew first blood after the Legarda-based spikers failed to anticipate Gaviola’s overset.
Arocha then led Arellano’s second set dominance to level.
In control with a 20-8 advantage in the third, the Lady Chiefs got a scare before taking a 2-1 set lead behind Ebuen’s timely hits.