By Jean Malanum

DOUBLE TEAM. Letran’s Merie Jundiel Nitura (No. 1) and Royce Dela Cruz (No. 3) defend against Lyceum’s Johna Denise Dolorito (No. 15) during the NCAA Season 99 women’s volleyball semifinals at the FilOil EcoOil Arena in San Juan on May 15, 2024. Letran won, 25-15, 25-21, 19-25, 19-25, 15-11, to advance to the finals against College of Saint Benilde. (NCAA photo)

MANILA – Letran survived Lyceum of the Philippines University, 25-15, 25-21, 19-25, 19-25, 15-11, on Wednesday to reach the NCAA Season 99 women’s volleyball finals.

Marie Judiel Nitura scored 23 points, while Gia Marcel Maquilang contributed 22 points and 16 excellent receptions as the Lady Knights claimed victory at the FilOil EcoOil Arena after two hours and 46 minutes.

Letran will face unbeaten College of Saint Benilde in the best-of-three championship series starting Sunday.

Game 2 will be played on May 26 while a decider, if necessary, is on June 1.

Nizelle Marie Martin scored 13 points to go with 14 receptions, while skipper Lara Mae Silva delivered 40 excellent digs.

“We didn’t expect this, but I’m happy with these kids. I said kids because they all really want to learn,” Letran coach Oliver Almadro said.

Joan Doguna finished with 22 points, including three aces, for Lyceum, which took an 11-8 lead in the deciding set before Letran rallied back to pull off the victory.

In the men’s division, Emilio Aguinaldo College defeated Letran, 30-28, 25-15, 19-25, 28-26, to advance to the finals against the University of Perpetual Help.

Jan Ruther Abor scored 24 points, 20 on spikes, while Ervin Patrick Osabel and Marvin Williams Romero added 20 and 18 points, respectively as the Generals marched to the finals for the first time since their title victory nine years ago.

Earlier, Perpetual prevailed over Arellano University, 19-25, 25-23, 24-26, 25-22, 18-16, to pocket the girls title in the high school division. (PNA)