VETERAN Lyceum coach Emil Lontoc is convinced that his squad has a chance to clinch a Final Four slot for the first time since joining the league in 2011.
After dropping a five-set thriller the last time out, the Lady Pirates vented their ire on hapless Mapua University and proved yesterday that Lontoc’s beliefs are well-founded.
Lyceum ripped the Lady Cardinals 25-21, 25-11, 25-16 for its third win and forged a tie for sixth in the 95th NCAA women’s volleyball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
Skipper and outside spiker Ciarnelle Wanta scored a match-high 12 points built on 11 attacks for the Lady Pirates, while Alexandra Rafael and Monica Sevilla added 11 markers apiece.
Setter Venice Puzon also had 13 excellent sets for Lyceum, which improved to 3-4 in a tie with idle Jose Rizal University. Mapua dropped to 1-6.
The Lady Pirates made up for their numbing 28-26, 27-25, 16-25, 19-25, 14-16 loss to Letran last Jan. 31.
“Expected naman namin iyan since alam ko naman ang kalibre ng players ko na medyo may advantage kami sa team ng Mapua. Iyon lang talagang naghahabol kami dahil sa pagkatalo namin ng five sets (against Letran) na dapat talaga panalo,” said Lontoc.
“Ang team ko talagang kayang manalo against sa kahit kaninong team. Iyong pagkatalo namin sa Letran, grabe 14-11 natalo pa kami sa fifth set. Talagang iyong mga breaks of the game na nangyayari. Pero iyong improvement ng team, ako mataas din ang expectations ko sa team na kaya namin manalo,” he added.
Alissa Magallanes had eight points for Mapua.
In the other match, Emilio Aguinaldo College stunned San Sebastian College, hacking out a thrilling 21-25, 25-23, 22-25, 25-18, 15-8 decision for its first win.
After losing the first and third sets, the determined Lady Generals zoomed to an 8-3 lead in the fifth frame and reached match-point at 14-4.
The Lady Stags saved four match-points but a booming crosscourt hit by Almazan sealed the victory for EAC.
Sophomore spiker Cathrine Almazan shone for the Lady Generals with 30 points off 26 spikes and two blocks, while Krizzia Reyes had 15 hits.