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Lady Blazers near V-League title

College of Saint Benilde inches closer to claiming the V-League Collegiate Challenge crown. (Photo courtesy of V-League)

College of Saint Benilde worked on its defense to stymie Far Eastern University’s attacks then flourished in transition plays to take a step closer to securing the V-League Women’s Collegiate Challenge crown with a 25-18, 25-18, 25-16 victory in the opener of their best-of-three series Wednesday at the Paco Arena in Manila.

The Lady Blazers kept the Lady Tamaraws’ hitters in check with their solid net and floor defense with no one able to churn out double-digit outputs for the Morayta-based squad. Faida Bakanke finished with just eight points that proved to be the leading score for FEU.

In contrast, CSB drew 13 and 12 points from Jade Gentapa and Gayle Pascual, respectively, with the latter capping her remarkable all-around stint with 10 excellent digs.

“We have to strengthen our defense, especially our blocking. So far, it worked in Game 1 and we hope we’ll be able to do it again in the next,” Lady Blazers assistant coach Jay Chua said.

The Lady Blazers gun for the clincher Friday at 4 p.m.

Meanwhile, University of the East escaped with a 28-26, 25-23, 25-23 victory over University of Perpetual Help Sytem Dalta to snare the bronze medal.

“This is important for the self-esteem of the ladies and having just been practicing for two months, they did pretty well,” UE assistant coach Obet Vital said.

Riza Nogales took control at the middle and produced 14 points on nine attacks and five blocks, while Casiey Dongallo topped the scoring with 22 markers. Setter Kizzie Madriaga ended up with 18 excellent sets to go with two markers.

Shaila Omipon and Mary Rhose Dapol matched 13-point outputs while Charmaine Ocado six markers for the Lady Altas.

On the other hand, Chenie Tagaod and Keisha Bedonia settled for six markers apiece for the Lady Tamaraws.

After dominating the first two sets via the same scoreline, the Lady Blazers raced to a 22-11 bulge in the third and the back-to-back National Collegiate Athletic Association champions never looked back to complete the rout.

In men’s play, FEU beat Ateneo de Manila University, 25-23, 21-25, 28-26, 25-21, in a winner-take-all clash to bag bronze.

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