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Arellano completes comeback, sweeps San Sebastian

By: JP Abcede

PASIG -- Arellano University's perfect record against San Sebastian College-Recoletos in the finals of NCAA women's volleyball remains as the Legarda-based squad completed a three-match sweep against coach Roger Gorayeb's wards, 25-15, 22-25, 25-23, 25-16 at the PhilSports Arena.

AU finished the match the way it started, by dominating SSCR and taking advantage of the latter's miscues and mental lapses. After trading the first two sets, Arellano averted San Sebastian from taking the third frame, holding off the squad that went undefeated in the first two rounds of the competition.

A key unforced error in the final point of the third set practically put the wind out of the sails of Baste, as Gretchel Soltones did her best to single-handedly carry her team to victory at the final set. Nevertheless, she also committed mistakes in that crucial juncture, as an attack that went long gave Arellano a 22-15 advantage.

As if to accentuate on how Soltones' NCAA career ended, her backrow attack was gamely stopped by the tall wall of Arellano at the net to cap the match. She finished with 25 points, all of them via attacks.

Captain Rialen Sante, finals MVP Jovy Prado, and Andrea Marzan showcased Arellano's balanced scoring, with all three ending up with 14 points each. Mary Anne Esguerra also had 12 markers.

Roberto Javier won coach of the year honors, a fitting tribute to his wife, who passed away today.

This is AU's second NCAA women's volleyball title, the last one it won two years ago.

Meanwhile, the quest for the Recto-based squad's first tournament championship since the turn of the decade hits another snag, as it once again wasted another finals advantage for the second straight season, only to end up losing in heartbreaking fashion.

Follow him on Twitter: @jpabcede