Hardly savoring the sweet taste of victory in the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference, the Army Lady Troopers get back to work in the next few days to plot their next line of attack in a bigger battlefield.
Shakey’s Pizza is putting up an invitational volley tournament next month where the top club teams from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, along with Army, will slug it out for the championship in what promises to be a blockbuster event among the regional rivals.
It is also expected to gauge the country’s progress in women’s volley, at least in the regional level, which it used to dominate in the 90s.
“The event was supposed to be held last year but we were forced to shelve it due to the Hong Kong bus hostage crisis,” said Moying Martelino, chair of the organizing Sports Vision.
He expressed confidence of the Army’s chances in the event slated Oct. 25-30 at The Arena in San Juan although it will also depend on the quality of the teams to be fielded in by the other four countries.
“We have a strong, good team in Army. But we will not know their true worth unless they play against these teams,” said Martelino.
Army coach Rico de Guzman is also looking forward to the Invitationals and has in fact expressed his desire to tap Suzanne Roces and Aiza Maizo to bolster the team’s title drive in the six-day tournament.
“We’re planning to get four guest players, including Roces and Maizo,” said de Guzman who already boasts of a star-studded crew made up of national team players that romped off with Shakey’s V-League inaugural Open diadem.
Led by sisters Michelle and Marietta Carolino, Mary Jean Balse, Joanne Buñag, Cristina Salak, Theresa Iratay, Jen Reyes and Rachel Ann Daquis, the Troopers put up a dominating performance in the just-concluded conference, winning a total of 13 games, including a pair of sweeps over Navy and San Sebastian in the Final Four and finals, respectively.
Although they needed a five-setter to finally defuse the Lady Stags in Game Two of their best of three title playoff, , 27-25, 20-25, 22-25, 25-23, 15-10, the Troopers proved just too much for the field, dropping just five sets in the entire campaign en route to the championship.
They finished the elims tied with the Stags at 5-1 and wound up tied again with the Recoletos-based squad after the quarters. Though the Stags matched the Troopers semis sweep with a 2-0 win over Ateneo, the 2008 second conference champions fell short of their bid for a second crown despite the presence of two top imports in Lauren Ford and Jang Baulee.
“We didn’t expect to win. It’s tough especially against the two imports of SSC,” said de Guzman. “We just did our best and it’s a great feeling being able to give honor to the organization.’
In the finals, De Guzman stressed the need for his players to keep an eye on Baulee and Ford, who went on to bag the MVP and scoring honors but was neutralized by the Troopers’ solid net defense in the finals.
“Actually, I didn’t have a hard time motivating my players, most of whom are members of the national pool. I just told them to learn from their mistakes and try to improve on their next game,” said de Guzman.
The next assignment will be a lot tougher, the field a lot stronger. But with de Guzman in command and his Lady Troopers ready to mow down the opposition, the newly crowned champions may yet carry out the mission.(pr)
Philippine Army sustained a scoring spurt linking the last two sets to subdue San Sebastian College in a thrilling five-setter, 27-25, 20-25, 22-25, 25-23, 15-10, and capture the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference crown before a big Thursday crowd at The Arena in San Juan last night.
Sisters Michelle and Marietta Carolino took charge in the decider along with Davao del Norte native Mary Jean Balse as the Lady Troopers won six of the first seven points to wrest control then fended off the Lady Stags’ fightback to pull off the come-from-behind win and the sweep of their best-of-three series for the league’s first “Open” championship that saw the participation of three military teams and one commercial squad.
“”Hindi ko inaasahan na mananalo kami dito kahit na halos national team members ang mga players ko kasi may malalakas na import ang kalaban. Pero hindi rin ako nahirapan sa pagko-coach sa mga players ko; yung mga mali na lang nila ang ini-improve namin,” said Army coach Rico de Guzman in the din of the Troopers celebration at center court.
Army, which swept SSC, 25-9, 25-20, 25-16, in the series opener Sunday, re-displayed its awesome firepower with five players churning out double-digit scores with Rachel Ann Daquis leading the attack with 20 hits, marked by eight service aces, including five in the fourth. She went on to win the finals MVP honors.
Balse, a former MVP, fired 19 points while Marietta Carolino, Michelle Carolino, another former MVP, and Joanne Buñag added 15, 11 and 10 hits, respectively.
It was a sorry loss for the Lady Stags, who recovered from a close first set setback by winning the next two in a duel of endgame runs, only to lose the next two.
Thai Jang Baulee and American Lauren Ford, the conference’s top scorer and MVP, combined for a whopping 55-point output and Joy Benito added 13 hits for the Lady Stags, who outhit the Troopers, 67-59.
Earlier, Ateneo pulled off another five-setter, 14-25, 25-20. 25-18, 19-25, 15-10, over Navy to clinch third place honors in the league sponsored by Shakey’s Pizza and Sports Vision.
The Lady Eagles saved their best for last, winning six of the last seven points in the decider to win the thrilling one-hour, 54-minute encounter and sweep their own playoff in the league backed by Accel, Mikasa and Maynilad Water.
The Troopers, who snatched the first set but yielded the next two, broke out from a 21-all game in the fourth by racking up three straight points then frustrated the Stags, who came within 23-24 only to lose the next point and the set.
Army kept the momentum of that endgame blitz by taking the first four points in the fifth, dropped the next but won the next two to go 6-1 up. They held sway from there, whisking off SSC’s comebacks, 4-6, 6-9, before winning four of the next five points, capped by a Balse attack for a 13-7 lead.
SSC won the next three points as Baulee made a hit and the Stags scored off the block but a service error by Jill Gustillo gave the Troopers the match point before
The Troopers rallied from 16-21 down in the opening frame by taking nine of the next 13 points to force a tie then won two straight points to steal the set.
But the Lady Stags, behind Baulee’s eight-point output and Benito’s three points, drew level with a fiery windup in the second frame that saw them score five straight points to turn an 18-19 deficit into a 23-19 lead. They yielded the next point but won the next two.
SSC also trailed 15-18 in the third but Baulee, Benito and Ford combined to rally the Stags from 17-22 to victory by sweeping the next eight points.(pr)
The 35th National Milo Marathon is set to take center stage once again on November 6, 2011, Sunday 4:30am in an out-and-back course at Roxas Avenue. For years, the National MILO® Marathon has been the biggest running event in the country. This year, it will hold its biggest advocacy campaign to date. Ten thousand more MILO® running shoes will be given to underprivileged children in 2011. That's more than twice as much as MILO® gave away in 2010. Same as last year, for every runner who joins the National MILO® Marathon, a portion of the registration fee will be allotted to the advocacy. And the money raised will be used to produce running shoes that will be donated to different public schools selected by the Department of Education in the areas where the 35th National MILO® Marathon will be held. All these efforts are in line with the commitment of MILO® to build a nation of champions. Because MILO® believes that MILO® is not just giving away running shoes, but also providing these kids with something they can wear to be champions not just in sports, not just in school, but also in life. For the Davao leg, 12,000 runners are expected to participate in the country’s biggest, longest and most prestigious running event which will feature the following categories: 3K Kiddies Run, 5K Fun Run, 10K run and the centerpiece 21K Half-Marathon. Complementing these are other side events like the Cheerdance competition, Inter-School running competition and the biggest delegation. Registration fees are as follows: P100.00 for the 3K kiddie run; P100.00 for the 5K fun run, P500 for the 10K and P500 for the 21K Half Marathon. Interested parties are advised to bring an empty Milo 80grams upon registration. Registration is on a “first come, first served” basis. Registration will start on September 26 and will end on October 15 at Toby’s Abreeza and at the 2nd floor, Tamayo Bldg., Lapu-Lapu Ave, Agdao. For inquiries, please call tel. no. 296-1300 or mobile no. 0921-5949303.
Games on Thursday
2 p.m. – Ateneo vs Navy
4 p.m. – Army vs SSC
Expect American Lauren Ford to bounce back strong and San Sebastian to go flat out for a victory against Army as the Lady Stags try to force a sudden death for the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference crown on Thursday at The Arena in San Juan.
With Ford clipped to a personal low of five points, the Lady Troopers needed just three sets to beat the Stags, 25-9, 25-20, 25-16, in last Sunday’s opener of their best-of-three series for the league’s season-ending conference sponsored by Shakey’s Pizza.
While Army played true to form, SSC lacked cohesion and firepower that have been the trademark of the Lady Stags’ impressive showing from the elims to the quarters and the semis of the league organized by Sports Vision and backed by Accel, Mikasa and Maynilad Water.
SSC’s mediocre performance in the series’ opener was best typified by Ford, who came into the Final Four with a league-leading 18.9-point norm.
She actually slowed down with a 10-point performance in their second match with Navy in the semis but her paltry five-point output in the finals came as a big letdown for a player who just bagged not only best scorer plum but also the coveted MVP honors.
Thai import Jang Baulee is tipped to dish out the same fighting form as she did in SSC’s last two games where she emerged as the top scorer with support to come from Rubie de Leon, Joy Benito, Dahlia Robinos and Jennifer Manzano.
The Lady Stags are also expected to make the necessary adjustment on their attacks after the Troopers neutralized them with their awesome blocking with Mary Jean Balse and Rachel Ann Daquis combining for six of the team’s 10 blocks.
But Balse and Daquis are also two of Army’s vaunted hitters, along with the Carolino sisters – Michelle and Marietta. Add Joanne Bunag and Cristina Salak to the mix, the Troopers are indeed one tough team to defend against.
Meanwhile, Navy also seeks an equalizer against Ateneo in their own series for third place with the Lady Sailors likewise needing to step up to avenge their thrilling five-set loss, 22-25, 25-23, 19-25, 25-14, 8-15, to the Lady Eagles in Game One.(pr)