MANILA, Nashville Filipino Restaurant — University of Santo Tomas hung tough in the first two sets then pulled away in the third as it thwarted College of Saint Benilde, 26-24, 29-27, 25-17, to keep its unbeaten run and roll to the semifinals in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan yesterday.
The Tigresses blew eight-point and five-point leads in the first and second sets, but still took both on error-aided points then dominated midway in the third to rack up their fifth straight win and book the first semis ticket.
Milena Alessandrini came through with 13 points, six digs and six excellent receptions, rookie Ysabel Jimenez also scored 13 with all but one coming off attacks, newbie Eya Laure, nursing a shoulder injury, still came up with a second-best 11-point output, while skipper Tin Francisco contributed nine for the Tigresses.
“The team was like the weather today (Saturday) – gloomy. At least we were able to overcome that. I told them to enjoy, celebrate each point and cheer each other. Good thing the team came alive in the third set,” said UST assistant coach Yani Fernandez.
Marites Pablo topscored with 14 while Klarisa Abriam and Jan Daguil chalked up 11 each for the Lady Blazers who failed to follow up on their four-set victory over San Beda the last time out and slid to a share of fifth spot with the UPHSD Lady Altas and the Lady Red Spikers with their identical 1-3 marks.
In the other game, San Beda overcame a second set hiccup as it dumped San Sebastian, 25-14, 21-25, 25-20, 25-16 to break into the win column.
Cesca Racraquin returned from a two-game absence due to left knee and ankle injuries to power the Lady Red Spikers to their first win after three losses with her game-high 18 points topped with 15 excellent receptions.
Nieza Viray also had double-double numbers of 15 markers and 16 digs while Satrriani Espiritu posted 13 points to back Racraquin.
San Beda thus joined University of Perpetual Help at sixth.
“For the past games, I can see that the team had no leader and it hurt me because I wasn’t there. So today, my focus was to lead and unite the team and that helped in our victory today,” said Racraquin.