Sports

Soltones leads San Sebastian past hapless Letran

NCAA

San Sebastian leaned on a solid effort of Grethcel Soltones as it waylaid a hapless Letran, 25-11, 25-17, 25-15, Tuesday, Jan. 5 to inch closer and closer to a sweep of the elimination round of the 91st NCAA women’s volleyball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.

The power-hitting Soltones, the reigning league MVP and a cinch to winning another one this season, drilled in a match-best 13 hits, all coming off kills, as the Lady Stags nailed their seventh win in row.

A sweep would send San Sebastian to the finals outright where it will enjoy a thrice-to-beat edge or a 1-0 lead in a best-of-five series while sending the next three teams to a stepladder semifinals.

For it to happen, the Lady Stags would need to hurdle the Lyceum of the Philippines University Lady Pirates on Friday, Jan. 8 and St. Benilde Blazers on Sunday, Jan. 10.

And that’s what San Sebastian coach Roger Gorayeb wants.

“It will not be easy but we’ll be aiming for it,” said Gorayeb, currently the national women’s team coach and a winner of the Shakey’s V-League’s first ever Grand Slam last year.

The volleyball competition is implementing a new format similar to basketball wherein the top four teams after the single-round elimination will advance to the Final Four where the No. 1 and No. 2 teams enjoy a twice-to-beat advantage against the No. 4 and No. 3 squads.

A sweep though sends the unbeaten team to the finals with a thrice-to-beat advantage while the other three teams go through a step-ladder semifinals.

Defending champion Arellano U is currently at No. 2 with a 6-1 (win-loss) record while St. Benilde and Perpetual Help are at Nos. 3 and 4 with 5-1 and 4-2 slates.

In men’s action, San Sebastian beat Letran, 18-25, 26-24, 25-23, 25-23, to improve to a 3-4 mark.

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