San Sebastian College-Excelroof went through a third-set wringer but still hacked out a 25-15, 25-15, 27-25 victory over Lyceum at the start of the Shakey’s V-League Season 7 second conference at The Arena in San Juan on Sunday.
The Lady Stags, installed the top favorites in the season-ending conference following the withdrawal of many-time champion University of Santo Tomas (UST), checked a shaky windup in the third frame as they battled back from two points down to complete the sweep of the Lady Pirates.
Thai Jeng Bualee fired 16 hits, including 14 kills, the last two forcing a 25-all count before the Lady Stags scored the last two points to wrap up the one-hour, 15-minute contest between two of the league’s fancied teams in the league sponsored by Shakey’s Pizza.
Joy Benito and Suzanne Roces added 13 and 11 points, respectively, for the Lady Stags, making up for their two errors that enabled the Lady Pirates to seize a 25-23 lead in the third.
Mary Jean Balse, a former Most Valuable Player from UST, paced Lyceum with 11 hits, while fellow guest player Dahlia Cruz added nine and mainstay Joy Cases tossed in eight points for the Lady Pirates, who showed so much promise in the first conference of the league organized by Sports Vision and backed by Accel, Mikasa and Excelroof.
“We played a relaxed game in the first two sets but we struggled in the third since we are still adjusting with our new libero,” said SSC coach Roger Gorayeb, referring to Mae Crisostomo.
But the veterans, led by Bualee, Roces, Benito, Mirasol, Elaine Cruz and Jennelyn Belen, kept the team together, particularly in the closely fought third set.