Trisha Paras (13) and Jiezela Viray (16) of the San Beda University Lady Red Spikers join forces to block Lourdes Clemente (5) of Perpetual Help Lady Altas during their Final Four match in the 93rd NCAA women's volleyball tournament at Fil Oil Flying V Centre in San Juan City on Friday. | Dennis Abrina/UPH photo
San Beda sweeps Perpetual for first ever NCAA women's volley finals stint
Joey Villar (philstar.com) - February 9, 2018 - 5:21pm

MANILA, Philippines – San Beda went to twins Maria Nieza and Maria Jiezela Viray when its leader Cesca Racraquin struggled as it downed Perpetual Help, 25-21, 25-15, 25-23, on Friday to clinch a historic first finals appearance in the 93rd NCAA women’s volleyball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan City.

Maria Nieza fired a match-best 16 hits spread from 13 spikes and three service aces while Maria Jiezela chipped in eight points. But it was their floor defense that spelled the difference as the two combined for 22 digs to help propel the Lady Red Spikers to the best-of-three finals for the very first time.

Racraquin couldn’t find his rhythm and was held to just nine but made up for her struggles by playing solid defense with 12 excellent receptions.

“The girls were really determined to make it to the finals and they showed it in this game,” said San Beda coach Mesio Gavino, who is hoping to steer his wards to the school’s first ever women’s volleyball crown, in Filipino.

San Beda now takes on the winner of the Arellano University-Jose Rizal duel in the finale starting next week.

Earlier, College of St. Benilde kept its title-retention bid alive as it edged a stubborn San Beda, 25-16, 24-26, 25-19, 20-25, 20-18, in the first stepladder semis match of the men’s division.

Skipper Isaah Oneal Arda uncorked a match-best 23 points including 22 on kills as the Blazers lived to fight for another day and will play the second seeded Chiefs on Tuesday in a knockout duel for the second and last slot to the best-of-three finals.

There, they will play Perpetual Help, which swept all their elimination round game to advance straight to the finals.

In junior’s play, Letran outlasted CSB-La Salle Greenhills, 13-25, 25-23, 25-23, 20-25, 15-12, to ensure itself of a Final Four spot.

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