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Lady Chiefs scalp Lady Stags; get twice to beat advantage

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Arellano University overcame a sloppy start as it turned back San Sebastian College, 19-25, 36-34, 25-16, 25-21, to seize the twice-to-beat incentive in the Final Four of the 93rd NCAA women’s volleyball tournament at the Filoil Arena in San Juan City.

Jovielyn Prado pumped in a team-high 17 points while Regine Anne Arocha, skipper Mary Anne Esguerra, Necole Ebuen and Carla Amaina Donatoalso contributed 16, 15, 14 and 13, respectively, to seal the LadyChiefs the No. 1 seed and the important playoff edge with an 8-1 (win-loss) mark.

It was also a win that soothed the pain of a 21-25, 20-25, 25-19, 12-25 defeat to College of St. Benilde Monday that spoiled AU’s sweep bid.

The Lady Chiefs had to shrug off a sluggish start as they fell in the first set and trailed, 33-34, in the high-scoring second set but recovered the groove by seizing the last three points of the same set including a kill by Esguerra to snatch the set.

That was the wake-up call AU needed to dominate the final two sets.

The Lady Stags slid to their fourth defeat against five wins and out the magic four and closer to elimination.
SSC awaits its fate as it hopes no two teams among Perpetual Help (5-2), Jose Rizal (5-3) and CSB (4-3) reach the six-win plateau for it to have a chance of advancing to the next phase.

Otherwise, it would fail to make the Final Four for the first time after making the finals the last three seasons.
Worse, Daureane Santos tweaked an ankle late in the game leaving SSC, which played with only eight players the whole campaign, with one less member.

In men’s action, AU bested SSC, 25-16, 25-14, 25-13, to likewise book a twice-to-beat edge with an 8-1 mark.