National University rallied from behind in the third set to complete a 25-13, 25-13, 25-21 victory over La Salle-Dasmariñas and tow rival Ateneo into the Final Four even as Perpetual Help stayed in the hunt with a four-set win over San Sebastian in the Shakey’s V-League Season 10 at The Arena in San Juan yesterday.
The Bulldogs trailed majority of the third but unleashed a strong finishing kick, winning four of the last five points to wrap up the 67-minute romp and complete a sweep of Group 1 at 3-0.
“It’s nice to be in the Final Four,” said NU coach coach Edjet Mabbayad, who drew 14 points from top hitter Dindin Santiago and a combined 24-hit output from Myla Pablo and Jaja Santiago.
The victory also shoved the Lady Eagles into the semis with a 2-1 card while eliminating the Lady Patriots and the idle Arellano Lady Chiefs, with similar 0-2 slates.
Earlier, Perpetual Help, needing a victory to stay in the semis race, did just that, beating San Sebastian, 25-19, 25-27, 25-23, 25-22, in a key Group 2 match.
The win evened the Lady Altas’ card at 1-1 and it primed up the NCAA champions for an all-important clash with the unbeaten UST Tigresses in the final quarterfinals playdate tomorrow.
A victory by Perpetual will force a three-way tie for first among the Tigresses, the Adamson Lady Falcons and the Lady Altas with the team with the highest tiebreak score getting a bye and the two others disputing the other semifinal berth. Perpetual will clinch the outright semis berth if it beats UST in three or four sets.
Honey Rose Tubino banged in a ferocious spike at center, capping his 17-hit output and ending the 1:44 encounter while dashing whatever hopes the ousted Lady Stags had in their bid to boot the Lady Altas out of the semis race in the league sponsored by Shakey’s.
“It’s really important for us because we really want to play in the Final Four,” said Perpetual Help coach Jason Sapin in Filipino. “Also, this win is all about pride because we all know San Sebastian is our rival in the NCAA.”
Earlier, setter Arriane Argarin came through with a brilliant push from behind that caught the SSC defense by surprise, giving Perpetual a two-hit cushion, 23-21, after the Lady Stags strung up six straight points to tie the game at 15 and threatened last at 21-22.
SSC, a former two-time champion and a perennial finalist in the league backed by Mikasa and Accel, wound up its dismal campaign with a 0-3 card despite tapping the power-hitting resident Thai import Jeng Bualee and former MVP Suzanne Roces.
Sandra delos Santos, the MVP in last year’s Open Conference, also dished out a 17-point performance, including three blocks, while Norie Diaz and April Sartin each added nine hits apiece for the Lady Altas.
Guest player Joy Cases added eight hits while Argarin finished with five points while producing 38 excellent sets.
Bualee did flash her awesome spiking skills and pumped in 27 for a 28-point stint while Gretchel Soltones and Roces combined for 21 hits for the Lady Stags, who outlasted the Lady Altas in a thrilling second set duel but dropped another close game in the third frame.
“The players relaxed after we took the first set. We lost the second and we almost lost the third set. Good thing we showed composure in the end,” said Sapin.
Meanwhile, the Perpetual-SSC match will be aired today (Wednesday) starting at 1 p.m. on GMA News TV Channel 11 with the National U-La Salle-Dasmariñas clash, still being played at presstime, set to be shown tomorrow (Thursday), also at 1 p.m., according to the organizing Sports Vision.