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College of St. Benilde, San Beda overcome foes

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Defending champion College of St. Benilde officially started the post Johnvic de Guzman era with a bang as it overpowered Letran, 25-12, 25-21, 25-18, in the men’s division of the 93rd NCAA volleyball tournament at the Filoil Arena in San Juan City.

Isaah Oneal Arda and Mark Jethro Orian came through big and filled the vacuum left by de Guzman, who had played his final season a year back, and fired 17 and 13 points, respectively, to help the Blazers set in motion their title-retention bid.

“My two senior players, Arada and Orian, have taken over the leadership role from Johnvic (de Guzman) and they’re leading by example,” said CSB coach Arnold Laniog in Filipino.

In the women’s division CSB survived an error-prone effort and pulled off a 25-22, 25-11, 25-20 win over Letran to seize an early share of the lead with opening day winners Arellano U, the reigning titlist, and San Sebastian.

Ranya Musa and Rachele Ann Austero unloaded 14 hits apiece to help the Lady Blazers make up for their 30 errors.

“We were just sloppy and giving up easy points. Good thing we made some adjustments,” said Laniog, who had taken over the women’s squad after former mentor Macky Carino moved to Perpetual Help late last year.

In the other game, San Beda overcame one-set and 2-5 deficits in the fifth set to edge upset-conscious Jose Rizal, 23-25, 25-19, 13-25, 25-19, 15-9, to likewise snatch a piece of the top spot.

Marie Nieza Viray unleashed a 19-point effort while Premier Volleyball League veteran Cesca Racraquin scattered 13 to help the Red Spikers snare the win.