by Kristel Satumbaga
It was a battle between destiny and dynasty and Arellano University proved it can have the best of both worlds by clinching its third straight NCAA women’s volleyball crown Tuesday.
Facing a determined University of Perpetual Help squad which seeks to complete the school’s triple crown bid, the Lady Chiefs refused to be intimidated by displaying their championship experience to continue their dominance in the country’s premier collegiate league.
Arellano’s journey can be likened to a hero’s quest, where they encountered several challenges to reach its destination – the championship podium.
“Andun na yung mga pagkakataon eh, pero siguro gusto talaga ng team ko na pinahihirapan. At least sa bandang huli, pumasa naman sila,” said AU coach Obet Javier, who has already claimed four of the last five NCAA titles [The opportunities were already there, but my team wants to get tested. At least in the end, they passed.]
Arellano entered the best-of-three finals as the fancied squad, having won two straight crowns. But they became the underdogs when fourth seed Perpetual turned the odds upside down with a stunning 21-25, 25-17, 25-21, 25-20 victory in Game 1.
The Lady Chiefs came back in Game Two, 23-25, 25-9, 25-18, 22-25, 15-12, and rode on that momentum in the pivotal Game 3 where they prevailed, 22-25, 25-15, 25-18, 25-18.
Back-to-back Finals Most Valuable Player Regine Arocha said the biggest opportunity came in Game 3 where Perpetual lost its steam after the second set loss.
“Sabi namin, binibigay na sa atin eh, ito na. Kunin na natin,” Arocha said [They’re giving it to us, so we must grab it].
Meanwhile, though Perpetual’s Cinderella run came into a painful, coach Macky Cariño is not losing hope that they will eventually reached the top in the future.
“Happy pa rin ako sa naging resulta. Nagbukas siya ng mga opportunities sa amin. Ngayon, kami na ang pinupuntahan ng mga players. Next season, ibang Lady Altas na ang makikita nila,” [I’m still happy with the result. It opened opportunities where other players seek us and not the other way around. It’s going to be a different team next season] said Cariño.