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Alvarez stars as Lady Bombers arrest losing skid


Shola Alvarez came through with an MVP-like performance as Jose Rizal University eked out a shock 25-21, 25-22, 25-21 win over College of St. Benilde to stay on Final Four course in the women’s division of the 93rd NCAA volleyball tournament at the Filoil Arena in San Juan City.

Alvarez, who improved her craft playing for Premier Volleyball League champ Pocari Sweat, did almost everything as she fired a match-high 21 points she laced with 20 kills while flashing her impressive defensive skills with 13 digs and eight receptions.

Thanks to her, the Lady Bombers have jumped to a tie at fifth spot with the Lady Blazers 3-3 (win-loss) records, or half a game behind No. San Sebastian Lady Stags (3-2), that boosted their chances of making the semifinal round for the first time since the Final Four was introduced.

JRU now looks at sweeping its last three outings against Mapua (0-5), Letran (2-3) and LPU (1-5) to accomplish its goal.

“Making the Final Four is a goal for us and we believe in ourselves that we will,” said JRU coach Mia Tioseco.

In the other game, San Beda survived Lyceum of the Philippines University’s upset try and escaped with a come-from-behind 22-25, 19-25, 25-11, 25-17, 15-7 win to rejoin Arellano University at the helm with six wins.

Cesca Racraquin went on attack mode and fired 26 points, including six service aces.

JRU, which is seeking to make the next round for the first time since the Final Four was implemented, has been making heads turn with a five-set upset win over San Sebastian, runner-up in the last three seasons.

The Kalentong-based school also snatched a set from defending champion Arellano U and Perpetual Help and was leading, 5-2, against San Beda in the fifth set before collapsing in the end.

Rookie sensation Dolly Grace Versoza provided Alvarez relief by scattering 16 points.

In the men’s division earlier, reigning titlist CSB routed JRU, 25-16, 25-17, 25-20, to improve to joint No. 2 with AU with 5-1 records each.

Perpetual Help leads with the way with a pristine 6-0 card.