THE first time is always the sweetest.
San Beda University, Emilio Aguinaldo College and Arellano University came through with performances to remember to clinch their very first titles in their respective divisions in the 93rd NCAA beach volleyball tournament at the Boardwalk in Subic Bay, Zambales Saturday.
Twice runners-up, twins Maria Jeziela and Maria Nieza Viray ended two years of frustration as they beat EAC’s Jaylene May Lumbo and Glyka Mariz Medina, 21-17, 21-10, to sweep their way to their first-ever crown.
The Virays, who lost to San Sebastian’s Grethcel Soltones and Alyssa Eroa in the last two finals, completed their magical season with a perfect 11-0 record in the event backed by Chigo Airconditioning, MTC & Infoworks, Crab & Belly, SBHATSVB, Subic Park Hotel, Bayfront Hotel, Terrace Hotel, SBMA, Balipure, Mikasa and Smart and sanctioned ng Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas Inc.
“We’re so ecstatic because after two years of losing in the finals, we finally won it,” said Maria Jeziela, the adjudged MVP who like her sister is taking up Bachelor of Physical Education and Wellness.
EAC’s Paolo Cezar Lim and Joshua Mina edged Perpetual Help’s Joebert Almodiel and Rey Taneo with a come-from-behind 17-21, 21-17, 15-13 win to likewise book their first men’s crown.
The Lim-Mina tandem also wound up with a pristine 11-0 slate.
Mina was named MVP.
AU for its part bucked a broken finger by Adrian Villados as Jesus Valdez and reserve Zachary Dablo, 21-16, 21-18 to also take home its first championship in the high school division.
With AU up by a set and 14-13 in the second, Villados, the MVP, broke his right pinkie finger and was rushed to the nearby hospital but Dablo, his replacement, and Valdez held the fort to preserve the win and the crown.