Defending champion Arellano University survived a third set scare from University of Perpetual Help System DALTA before taking a masterful 25-12, 25-13, 25-23 in the NCAA Season 97 women's volleyball tournament on Saturday.
Arellano has now picked up its fourth straight victory to improve to 6-1 for solo second while Perpetual sank to 2-5 behind a four-game losing streak.
Arellano had to first weather some late rallies in the third from Perpetual, who tied the game at 20 after a huge denial from Rizel Aldea on Cess Bello.
Perpetual would still regain the lead, 22-20, after a Mary Rhose Dapol attack but Nicole Sasuman came through in the clutch, scoring three of their last five points en route to the win.
The win was a redemption of sorts for Arellano, who stumbled against Perpetual in five sets when they last met in Season 95.
It was business as usual for team captain Carla Donato, who led their early rally as the Lady Chiefs built a 23-11 lead after a quick play from the skipper.
Back-to-back miscommunications on the side of Perpetual then gave Arellano the frame by a wide margin, 25-12.
It was basically the same plot come the second set, where Arellano quickly raced to a 20-12 advantage with veterans Bello and Charmina Diño leading the way.
Two service aces in a row from Bello then put Arellano up twice as Perpetual, 24-12, before an attack error from Perpetual team captain Charina Scott sent Arellano two sets ahead, 25-13.
Sasuman led the team in scoring, finishing with 10 points to go along with three excellent receptions while Bello and Donato chipped in nine and eight markers each. Diño was also a key cog, chiming in with seven points and seven digs.
Hannah Suico and Jenny Gaviola were the long bright spots for Perpetual with five points each.
Arellano has two assignments left in the elimination round as it takes on Emilio Aguinaldo College on Tuesday before wrapping up the regular season next Saturday against College of Saint Benilde.
Perpetual, meanwhile, also faces CSB on Wednesday and San Beda University next Sunday.
—JMB, GMA News