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Lady Blazers eye V-League crown

COLLEGE of Saint Benilde is out to finish off Far Eastern University in Game 2 of the V-League Women’s Collegiate Challenge finals. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF V-League

College of Saint Benilde goes for the title-clinching win while Far Eastern University is out to force a rubber match in Game 2 of the best-of-three V-League Women’s Collegiate Challenge today at the Paco Arena.

Momentum is on the Lady Blazers’ side when they meet the desperate Lady Tamaraws at 2 p.m. after a masterful straight sets victory in the series opener.

Meanwhile, De La Salle University seeks to bag the men’s championship and finish off the stunned title favorite University of Santo Tomas at 4 p.m.

Saint Benilde’s patience and pesky net and floor defense put FEU out of its usual aggressive form as it drew first blood, 25-18, 25-18, 25-16 last Thursday.

The reigning National Collegiate Athletic Association back-to-back champions were able to stymie the Lady Tamaraws’ attacks while punching in 43 kills and landing five aces.

Still, the job is far from over for last year’s third placer.

“We have to make sure that we sustain our defense, especially our floor defense and blocking. We saw it work in Game 1 so hopefully it will still be there in Game 2,” Saint Benilde assistant coach Jay Chua said.

“We just need keep working hard and focus on our goal. Of course, FEU will be preparing well against us so we must execute our game plan and just play our game,” he added.

The troika of Jade Gentapa, Gayle Pascual and Zamantha Nolasco will be leading the way for the Lady Blazers once again just like in Game 1 when the three submitted double figures on offense.

On the other hand, FEU, with its back against the wall, is throwing everything it has to forge a Game 3 on Sunday.

First-year coach Manolo Refugia must find a way to break the Lady Blazers’ defensive sets to keep the Lady Tamaraws’ title hopes alive.

Faida Bakanke and Chenie Tagaod would have to bounce back big time after a quiet outing the last time out to rally FEU back in the series.

In men’s play, Noel Kampton and JM Ronquillo are expected to deliver another stellar outing to complete the Green Spikers title conquest.

The duo combined for 42 points in La Salle’s 25-21, 16-25, 25-21, 22-25, 15-8, win in the series opener.

“We’ll make sure to address our lapses in Game 1. I don’t want to put too much pressure on our players expecting them to finish the series it right away,” Green Spikers head coach Jose Roque said.

“Our players’ morale is high since we got Game 1 but we can’t be too complacent. We have to focus on the job at hand.”

Game 3, if necessary, is also on Sunday.

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