MANILA -- University of Perpetual Help went undefeated in Week 4 of the NCAA Season 98 women's volleyball tournament, after defeating Lyceum of the Philippines University and Mapua University to finish with an 8-1 record.
After missing the Final 4 last season, the Lady Altas have now clinched a spot, thanks in part to Shaila Omipon, a sensational rookie who is currently leading the Las Pinas crew in recent victories.
The first-year open spiker scored 22 points, including the last two attacks, and had six digs in their 25-21, 25-13, 25-22 win over the Lady Pirates last Friday. She then tallied 13 markers and 10 digs as Perpetual defeated the Lady Cardinals, 25-16, 25-19, 25-17 on Sunday, securing its second-seed finish behind defending champion De La Salle-College of St. Benilde (CSB).
For this, the 19-year-old Omipon was named the Collegiate Press Corps NCAA Player of the Week edging out CSB's Jade Gentapa and Gayle Pascual, as well as San Sebastian College-Recoletos' Tina Marasigan, for the weekly honors.
Perpetual Head coach Sandy Rieta is not surprised by Omipon's current performance as the team looks to bounce back from a disappointing seventh-place finish in Season 97.
"Sanay na ako dito [kay Shaila] na mag-perform nang maganda," Rieta said. "Malaki naman tiwala ko sa mga players ko, sa kanila. Lagi ko lang sinasabi sa kanila na ang laki ng tiwala namin sa kanila, so kailangan 'yung tiwala niyo sa sarili niyo, gano'n din."
The Lady Altas will look to capitalize on this momentum when the stepladder Final 4 round kicks off this Sunday with a knockout match between Lyceum and Mapua. <tagline, itals> -- Bryan Gadingan