NCAA Letran and Benilde jointly pose, wrapping up their successful NCAA women’s volleyball season. SGA photo

St. Benilde completes NCAA volleyball three-peat

May 28, 2024 Theodore P. Jurado 285 views

COLLEGE of Saint Benilde became the fifth NCAA women’s volleyball program to complete a three-peat with a 25-18, 25-17, 25-18 dismantling of Letran yesterday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.

The Lady Blazers dominated the Lady Knights, 2-0, in the best-of-three Finals series to secure their fourth championship overall, extending their remarkable winning streak to 40 matches.

Joining Benilde in the elite list of teams winning three consecutive crowns are Letran (1977-80), San Sebastian (1982-84, 1986-88, 1990-96, 1999-2002, 2005-11), University of Perpetual Help System Dalta (2012-14) and Arellano University (2017-19).

The Lady Blazers’ other title was in 2016, stunning the Grethcel Soltones-Lady Stags in an epic championship series.

Season MVP Clo Mondoñedo, who finally earned the Best Setter award, ended her NCAA career as champions together with Michelle Gamit, Gayle Pascual and Jade Gentapa.

Mondoñedo tossed in 16 excellent sets and logged four points in the clincher.

Pascual, who scored a match-best 14 points and collected seven digs, bagged her second straight Finals MVP plum and was delighted to cap her college stint as a winner. Gamit and Gentapa each had eight points.

“Masaya siya siyempre since first year yun na talaga ang plan ni coach Jerry (Yee) na kunin namin ang championship hanggang maka-graduate kami and okay siya na natupad naman namin ngayon,” Pascual told broadcaster GTV.

Benilde was poised to start their dynasty in 2020 by winning seven consecutive matches, but the season was scrapped due to Covid-19.

But when the league restarted in 2022, the Lady Blazers were unstoppable since then.

Wielyn Estoque and Zam Nolasco, who are now expected to lead Benilde in extending its dynastic rule in the next season, shone.

Estoque hammered 11 kills while Nolasco had two blocks to finish with seven points for the Lady Blazers.

“Natutuwa ako kasi yung mga teammates ko nag-improve talaga sila then naging mas madali para sa amin na as a team kami naglalaro ngayon compared to last season,” Pascual. “Nandito lang ako palagi para sa kanila.”

Judiel Nitura led the Lady Knights with 12 points while newly-minted Freshman of the Year Gia Maquilang had three service aces for a nine-point outing and tallied eight receptions.

It was Letran’s best finish, ushering the new era under decorated coach Oliver Almadro, since securing back-to-back runner-up trophies in 2011 and 2012 season.

Earlier, Perpetual became the most successful NCAA men’s volleyball program after defeating Emilio Aguinaldo College, 25-14, 25-22, 29-27.
Jeff Marapoc, who was named the Finals MVP, topscored for the Altas in Game 2 with 18 points on 15-of-34 attacks and three service aces, and had 14 receptions, Louie Ramirez contributed 14 points, including two blocks, while Kobe Tabuga added 13 points.

By completing a four-peat, it was Perpetual’s 14th championship overall, all under decorated coach Sinfronio “Sammy” Acaylar, surpassing Letran’s 13.

Ramirez, who bagged the second straight season MVP award and was named the 2nd Best Outside Spiker, simply wanted to close out the best-of-three series by not giving the Generals a chance.

“Finally we finished the series in Game 2, It was a team effort para makuha namin ito, i thank all my team mates for this,” Ramirez said.

Jan Ruther Abor tallied team-high 22 points on 21-of-44 spikes while Ervin Osabel had 14 kills for EAC.