COLLEGE of Saint Benilde is simply a class of its own and its seeming mastery of Arellano U lives on.

15 March 2023

COLLEGE of Saint Benilde is simply a class of its own and its seeming mastery of Arellano U lives on.

In what could be a rematch of opposing teams in last year’s Finals, CSB once again got the better end of the bargain, blasting Arellano U, 25-15, 25-21, 25-19, in the NCAA women’s volleyball tournament Wednesday at the San Andres Sports Complex.

Unbeaten in eight matches, the Lady Blazers, who are already assured of a twice-to-beat bonus in a Final Four format, remain on course for a second consecutive championship appearance.

Benilde seeks to complete a nine-match sweep of eliminations against also-ran Jose Rizal University on Sunday.

Cloanne Mondoñedo was again the glue that put the needed cohesion for the Lady Blazers. She strung together with 17 excellent sets and five points.

“Siguro yung kumpiyansa namin sa isa’t isa. Yung tiwala sa isa’t isa,” said Mondoñedo, who leads the league in the setting department.

Jade Gentapa led the way for Benilde with 21 points while Gayle Pascual chipped in 17 points on 15-of-29 spikes and collected 10 digs.

The Lady Chiefs, who were led by Moming Padillon’s eight-point, seven-dig outing, fell to fifth place with their third loss in seven matches.

Mapua later opened a one-and-a-half game lead over Arellano in the race for the last semifinal berth with a 25-23, 25-19, 26-24 victory over already-eliminated San Beda.

Roxie dela Cruz led the Lady Cardinals with 15 points, including six service aces, six digs and five receptions, Tere Manalo hammered 14 kills while Hannah de Guzman had two service aces for a nine-point outing.

With a 6-2 record, Mapua moved in a tie with idle Lyceum of the Philippines University in third place.

Mondoñedo and the rest of the Lady Blazers treated the rematch of last season’s Finals with the same respect as other teams.

“Kasama naman sila doon sa NCAA team na pinaghahandaan din namin, Aminin man namin sa hindi, lahat naman ng teams nag-improve pati sila,” said Mondoñedo.

Men’s action saw Arellano improve to 6-1 following a 25-20, 25-13, 21-25, 25-14 victory over Benilde. The Cardinals hope to get the job done after last season’s heartbreaker of not reaching the Final Four.

“Tsina-challenge ko yung mga players namin. Sinasabi ko nga, ang kapalaran namin dito sa Season 85 is nasa kamay namin,” said Mapua coach Aying Esteban. “Para wala na kaming iisipin, must win kami itong last game namin.”

The Lady Cardinals will face the Lady Altas on Sunday.