Shakey’s V-League: Lady Stags foil Archers anew, gain finals
San Sebastian went through another wringer and like the last time out, came out of it a winner, nipping La Salle, 21-25, 25-17, 20-25, 28-26, 15-9, to barge into the championship round of the Shakey’s V-League second conference at The Arena in San Juan City today.
Jennelyn Belen took over from Charisse Ancheta to set the plays for San Sebastian in the fourth and fifth sets, which the Stags won in close fashions to complete their two-game sweep of the three-time champions.
San Sebastian also bucked La Salle’s season-high 22 blocks with a flurry of kills, including 23 from top-hitter Laurence Ann Latigay, who scored on quick plays and power hits to finish with 27. She also had four blocks.
“La Salle‘s blocking was impressive and I gambled on Belen because Ancheta played below par. It’s a good thing that our offense clicked in the fourth and fifth sets,” said SSC coach Roger Gorayeb.
Guest player Suzanne Roces backed Latigay with 17 points while Analyn Joy Benito tossed in 13 hits for San Sebastian, which reached the finals of the league, sponsored by Shakey’s Pizza, for the fourth time.
The Archers, who fought back from two sets down only to drop a 25-21, 25-19, 22-25, 20-25, 15-9 setback in Game One last Friday, looked headed for a Game Three when Celine Hernandez scored on a block for a 26-25 La Salle lead in the fourth frame.
But Rysabelle Devanadera countered with two blocks of her own off Charleen Cruz and Stephanie Mercado’s hit went wide, enabling San Sebastian to snatch the set win and force another decider.
Sustaining the momentum, SSC went to Benito who unloaded back-to-back service aces in the fifth frame while Latigay came through with two kills as the Stags raced away at 9-3.
The Lady Archers closed to within, 8-11, on Mercado’s service winner but Jacqueline Alarca fumbled with two errors and Roces came up with a block to clinch the point, the set and the match for the Recoletors-based squad.
Devanadera added nine hits, the bulk of which came from Belen’s set plays in the last two frames.
La Salle played impressively on net defense with Cruz and Alarca coming up with seven blocks apiece although these proved not enough to carry the Lady Archers past the Stags.
Alarca finished with 22 points while Cruz and Manilla Santos had 17 and 13 hits for La Salle.
University of Santo Tomas drew 49 points from Venus Bernal and Mary Jean Balse as the Tigresses pulled off a tough 15-25, 30-28, 26-24, 25-22 victory over Adamson to force a sudden death for the other championship berth.
The three-time champion Tigresses, who dropped a 25-22, 25-18, 22-25, 25-23 setback to the Lady Falcons in their series’ opener last Friday, showed their championship experience as they fought back from a listless first set performance with a superb offensive game in the next three to foil their rivals’ sweep bid.
UST and Adamson, winner of the first conference, dispute the second finals berth in a winner-take-all match on Tuesday. (http://www.v-league.ph)