Army 2 0
SSS 2 0
Navy 1 2
Air Force 0 1
Maynilad 0 1
Ateneo 0 1
2 p.m. – Ateneo vs Maynilad
4 p.m. – Air Force vs Army
Philippine Army recovered from a first-set meltdown with a sweep of the next three as it essayed a 21-25, 25-14, 25-17, 25-17 victory over Ateneo to grab the solo lead in the quarterfinal round of the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan, Thursday.
Marietta Carolino took charge for the Lady Troopers with 13 kills and three blocks for a 17-hit output while sister Michelle backed her up with 13 points and Dahlia Cruz delivered 12 hits in the last two sets to anchor the team’s one-hour, 29-minute victory.
It was Army’s second straight win in the single-round robin quarters phase with the Troopers reasserting their mastery over the first conference champions, whom they also beat in four in the elims of the season-ending tournament sponsored by Shakey’s Pizza.
San Sebastian College held on to a tough 23-25, 25-12, 25-21, 24-26, 15-10 victory over Navy in the other game as the Lady Stags re-joined the Troopers at the helm.
The win also avenged the Recoletos-based squad’s lone setback in the elims.
Veteran Michelle Laborte sprained her right ankle in the second set, forcing her to sit out the rest of the game as the Lady Sailors dropped to 1-2.
Ateneo, chasing a second straight crown after thumping Adamson in the first conference, looked headed for a big reversal but lost its poise in the face of the fiery Army comeback in the second set.
The Lady Eagles, behind Fille Cainglet, Angeline Gervacio and Alyssa Valdez, tried to fight back in the third and fourth sets but lost steam at endgame and tumbled to their first loss in a tie with Air Force and Maynilad.
Cainglet stepped up to fire 20 hits while Gervacio and Valdez each had to points for the Eagles, who also drew eight hits from Gretchen Ho and four points from Aerieal Patnongon.
“The girls somewhat relaxed in the early going and they struggled with their set plays. But it’s a good thing that my second stringers stepped up,” said Army coach Rico de Guzman.
With Rachel Ann Daquis struggling with five hits in two sets, Cruz took charge and unloaded hits after hits as she combined with Cristina Salak, who also had three blocks for six points, and Mary Jean Balse, who had eight hits.
Joanne Buñag, the team’s second top scorer with a 12-hit norm in seven games, finished with seven points.
The loss was Ateneo’s fifth straight, counting the four in the elims of the tournament organized by Sports Vision and backed by Accel, Mikasa and Maynilad Water.
After dropping the first set, Army re-asserted its might on the net and went on to outhit Ateneo, 56-47, and wound up with nine blocks against its rival’s three.
Meanwhile, the Army-Ateneo match will be aired today at 2 p.m. on NBN-4 and on on GMA-7’s international channels GMA Pinoy TV, GMA LifeTV and GMA News TV.(pr)