SAN JUAN City – College of Saint Benilde completed its fairy tale run by capturing the school’s very first National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Women’s Volleyball crown by overpowering San Sebastian College in four sets, 25-22, 25-23, 22-25 and 25-22, Thursday (January 28) at the San Juan Arena. This time, the Lady Blazers made sure after their celebration was delayed by a spirited Lady Stags triumph two days earlier to set the stage for the winner-take-all showdown.
Jeanette Panaga continued to be Saint Benilde’s defensive anchor, scoring seven of her 16 points off blocks, and her efforts merited her selection as Most Valuable Player of the Finals. Coach Macky Carino was named as Coach of the Year.
The Lady Blazers took the tough road to the title, starting at the bottom of the stepladder playoffs by eliminating perennial contenders University of Perpetual Help System-Dalta. Next to fall was defending champion Arellano University for the right to play the then undefeated Lady Stags.
Earning a free pass into the finals also gave the Lady Stags a thrice-to-beat advantage. However, the Lady Blazers immediately erased this by taking the series opener and then pushed their opponents to the ropes by winning the next game.
Aside from Panaga, the rest of the championship roster is composed of Janine Navarro, Ranya Musa, team captain Djanel Cheng, Rachel Austero, Diane Ventura, Jane Frances Borrero, Chelsea Santillan, Christine Lim, Ellaine Dolorito, Bianca Lizares, Jan Arianne Daguil and liberos Melanie Torres and Chelsea Umali.
Up next for the spikers will the 91st NCAA Beach Volleyball tournament set for February 10 to 14, 2016 in Subic Bay. Saint Benilde and San Sebastian are the defending champions in the Men’s and Women’s divisions respectively.