Pocari Sweat picked up its second straight-set win following back-to-back setbacks, clipping Perlas, 25-19, 25-19, 25-18, to get back into the thick of things in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan yesterday. With the imports’ stints still on hold pending the release of their ITCs (International Transfer Certificate), the locals continued to take the spotlight with Elaine Kasilag, Jeanette Panaga and Myla Pablo spearheading the Lady Warriors’ attack against the Lady Spikers, who struggled with their service reception and fell to a tie with their tormentors.
Dragged into a back-and-forth duel in the first two sets, the Lady Warriors finished strong in both frames to take control then survived their rivals’ tough stand in the third to complete the sweep.
“I guess they’re complementing with each other’s game now. But I want everybody to chip in since that’s what the team needs,” said Pocari coach Rommel Abella.
It was Pocari Sweat’s second straight win after dropping their first two matches to the Power Smashers and the BaliPure Water Defenders, putting the defending champions back in the hunt in the season-opening conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.
Pablo slowed down with a 13-hit, including 11 attack points, effort after an 18-attack, three-ace and two-block performance against the Air Force Jet Spikers last Saturday. But Kasilag and Panaga chipped in 12 markers each while Maricar Nepomuceno added 10 points for the Lady Warriors.
Dzi Gervacio scored eight points for Perlas.
Earlier, Cignal TV Inc. fought back strong from a tight first-set defeat and foiled Café Lupe, 23-25, 25-19, 25-6, 25-23, to join Sta. Elena and Army in the lead of the men’s tournament in the league backed by Mikasa and Asics.
The Cignal HD Spikers actually overpowered the Sunrisers, 60-34, in attack points but needed to toughen up after yielding the opening frame with five players churning out double-digit scores, including 16 by Lorenzo Capate.
Café Lupe, which drew a combined 25-hit output from Jahir Ebrahim and Joshua Barrica, dropped to 0-3.(pr)
MALOLOS CITY — Cignal took its sweet time before blasting away Sta. Lucia, 20-25, 25-10, 25-20, 25-10, yesterday in the Belo-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference Saturday at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center here.
Rachel Anne Daquis had an impressive all-around performance while Honey Royse Tubino spearheaded a sizzling run in the deciding set to lift the HD Spikers to an easy triumph in this prestigious women’s club tourney bankrolled by Mikasa, Asics, Senoh and Mueller with TV5 as official broadcast partner.
With the win, the HD Spikers have avenged their sorry five-set loss to Petron last Thursday and are now in the third spot with a 2-1 win-loss mark.
Daquis, a fresh recruit from RC Cola-Army, delivered seven kills, three aces and two blocks for 12 points while Tubino finished with 11 markers for the HD Spikers, who fielded their second unit early in the game before veterans like Daquis, Tubino, Jovelyn Gonzaga and Chie Saet restored order in the second and third sets.
In the second match, Foton flirted with disaster before hammering out a 25-19, 25-16, 23-25, 26-24 win over Generika-Ayala.
Dindin Santiago and Gretchel Soltones finished with 19 and 18 points, respectively, for the Tornadoes, who started out slow but caught fire in the crucial stretch of the fourth set to claim the victory.
The HD Spikers and the Tornadoes are now tied at the second spot with a 2-1 win-loss mark behind unbeaten Petron.
The Blaze Spikers, however, are still playing neophyte Cocolife as of press time.
“We managed to cut down our errors unlike last game,” said Cignal coach George Pascua, admitting they cannot afford to relax now as they’re setting their sights on making it to the semifinals in this very short but competitive tournament that also has Gold’s Gym as official fitness partner and UCPB Gen as official insurance provider.
“We have a very good chance of making it to the top three. We just need to work hard and treat each game as if it’s a championship match.”
Daquis said their performance may have been impressive, but they still remain a work in progress.
“We’ve been together for only a month. We’re still working on making some adjustments,” said the comely open spiker, who was named Most Valuable Player of the PSL All-Filipino Conference two years ago.
The HD Spikers emerged with less errors compared to the Lady Realtors, 24-31, while having a huge advantage in the attack points, 50-31, and aces, 9-4.
One of the two new teams this year, the Lady Realtors came out firing in the opening set as 6-foot-1 Lourdes Clemente and hard-hitting Rachel Austero took turns in piercing the defensive blanket of Cignal in the first set.
But after Cignal equalized the match at one set apiece, the fire in the eyes of Sta. Lucia slowly diminished as the HD Spikers turned a 16-all deadlock into a 24-18 lead to capture the third set and gain a sky-high morale entering the fourth.
Clemente finished with eight kills for 10 points while Jonah Sabete had eight kills for the Lady Realtors, who have yet to win in two starts.
A more experience Foton smothered newcomer Cocolife, 25-16, 25-17, 25-13, yesterday in the Belo-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan.
Veterans Grethcel Soltones and Dindin Manabat led the assault and dictated the tempo early on to lead the Tornadoes to their first win in this prestigious women’s club tournament bankrolled by Mikasa, Senoh, Mueller and Grand Sport with TV5 as official broadcast partner.
A fresh recruit from San Sebastian College, Soltones fired 10 of her 11 points off kills, while Manabat chipped in nine markers for the Tornadoes, who pounced hard on the Asset Managers’ erratic attacks and sluggish floor defense.
The Tornadoes had 40 kills while the Asset Managers had only 19.
Foton also finished with 31 digs while Cocolife had 24 despite the backline presence of Denden Lazaro, the former star libero of Ateneo de Manila who tallied seven receptions.
Foton now fashions a 1-1 win-loss mark after absorbing an opening-day loss to Cignal.
Foton head coach Moro Branislav said they took advantage of the rawness of Cocolife, a new team which was formed by former Ateneo and La Salle players with the core of reigning NCAA champion Arellano University serving as reinforcements.
“Cocolife is a new team. They have good players, but we are more experienced,” said Branislav, the Serbian guru who steered the Tornadoes to the Grand Prix title last year and a ticket to the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship in Kazakhstan in May.
Branislav said he is looking forward to their next match, which is against Generika-Ayala on Saturday, as it would dictate the tempo of this very short tournament that also has UCPB Gen as official insurance provider and Gold’s Gym as official fitness partner.
“Normally, I like to see how our next match, which is against Generika, would go. In my opinion, there are four teams which can make it to the semifinals; Cignal, Petron, Generika and Foton. If we can win over them on Saturday, that will be very interesting.”
Staring at a 0-2 set deficit, the Asset Managers showed some traces of life in the third set as Michele Gumabao and Andrea Marzan delivered a pair of kills to put Cocolife ahead, 6-5.
But that was the last kick by the Asset Managers as the Tornadoes, behind the hot smashes of Soltones and Manabat, took control for a 17-19 advantage en route to the victory that lasted for only 73 minutes.
Former La Salle star Wensh Tiu nailed in six points while Gumabao finished with five markers for the Asset Managers, who fell to 0-2 slate.
PLDT Home Ultera completed its sweep of the premier volley titles as the Ultra Fast Spikers wore down the Cagayan Rising Suns in a tight fourth set duel to pull off a 25-15, 25-11, 23-25, 30-28 victory yesterday and capture the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference crown at The Arena in San Juan.
Unlike in their counterparts’ sudden death victory over the Army Lady Troopers, however, the Ultra Fast Spikers didn’t go through a wringer as they swept the Rising Suns in their best-of-three series with a pair of four-set victories to emerge as champions of the first-ever men’s volley league organized by Sports Vision.
With Mark Alfafara on the firing end, PLDT overpowered Cagayan with its efficient spiking anchored on a solid net defense that stymied the Rising Suns’ attacks and keyed their one-hour, 48-minute victory.
After churning out a nine-block game in their 25-22, 21-25, 25-23, 25-12 victory in the series’ opener, the PLDT Spikers’ produced a whopping 19-block feat, foiling and frustrating Cagayan’s frontliners no end. PLDT also pounced on Cagayan’s poor reception and scored eight aces while finishing with 53 attacks.
Alfafara proved relentless throughout, finishing with six blocks on top of 16 attacks as the league’s MVP topscored again with 23 hits while drawing a big 19-hit effort from Howard Mojica and a combined 30-point output from Vic De Guzman, Jayron Ramos and Kheeno Franco.
The win thus capped PLDT’s domination of the sport after its ladies counterparts, led by national team mainstays Alyssa Valdez, Jaja Santiago, Gretchel Soltones and Denden Lazaro, outlasted the Lady Troopers in five in their thrilling sudden death duel before a record crowd last Sunday.
On the other hand, it a sorry ending to Cagayan’s campaign after a dominant performance in the eight-team elims which it topped with a 6-1 card.
Earlier, Marck Espejo was named MVP and best outside spiker of the conference but came up short in the game that mattered most with just 14 hits.
Other awardees were PLDT’s John Paul Torres (second best outside spiker), Cagayan’s Ericson Ramos (libero), Cignal’s Reyson Fuentes (Best middle blocker), Cagayan’s Peter Torres (second best middle blocker) and Alfafara (opposite spiker).
Air Force repeated over Cignal, 25-21, 25-21, 25-20, to capture third place honors in the event presented by PLDT Home Ultera and backed by Mikasa.
The Airmen, who fought back from 1-2 set down and snatched a 25-20, 21-25, 16-25, 25-23, 15-12 win in the opener of their best-of-three series for third last Sunday, re-asserted their might on the net, blasting in 46 attacks and coming up with nine blocks while scoring three aces as against the HD Spikers’ 35-attack, six-block, one-ace performance.
Jeffrey Malabanan stood at the forefront of Air Force’s charge for the second straight time, punching in 17 hits while Edwin Tolentino and Ruben Inaudito backed him up with 14 and 12 markers, respectively.
Edmar Bonono and Jay dela Cruz combined for 19 hits while Reyson Fuentes and Herschel Ramos added seven and six points, respectively, for the HD Spikers.(pr)
9 a.m. – Air Force vs Cignal (best of 3 for third)
3 p.m. – PLDT vs Cagayan (best of 3 for crown)
PLDT Home Ultera overcame a first-set stumble and strung up three set wins in close fashions to hack out a 16-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-23 victory over Cagayan Valley yesterday in a preview of their championship showdown in the inaugural Spikers’ Turf Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan.
The Ultra Fast Spikers lost to the Rising Suns in their spiking duel, 46-48, but won their battle in blocks, 11-9, and in serves, 6-4, to snatch victory and gain some momentum heading to the start of their best-of-three title series on Sunday.
Howard Mojica rammed in 14 attacks to finish with 18 hits while Vic De Guzman and Mark Alfafara combined for 25 points as the Ultra Fast Spikers completed their sweep of the single round semis of the league presented by PLDT Home Ultera and backed by Mikasa.
UAAP MVP Marck Espejo played true to form and hammered in 19 hits, including 17 on attacks, while Rex Intal and Peter Torres fired 11 hits apiece for the Rising Suns, who also hope to flaunt their hitting prowess and plug the holes in some departments come Sunday.
Earlier, Cignal held off Air Force to fashion out a 29-27, 25-14, 28-26 victory in their own preview of their battle for third place.
Red Christensen fired 10 hits, including nine on attacks, while Reyson Fuentes, Herschel Ramos and Bonjomar Castel came through with eight points apiece and Lorenzo Capate Jr. and skipper Jay dela Cruz added seven and six hits for the HD Spikers, who produced 50 attacks and nine blocks as against their rivals 44 and five, respectively.
Ruben Inaudito and Jhimson Merza churned out 10 hits each while Jeffrey Malabanan and Edwin Tolentino tossed in nine and eight points, respectively, but the Airmen failed to sustain their fightbacks in the first and third sets.
Meanwhile, the Air Force-Cignal clash will be shown on PTV 4 starting at 10:30 tonight while the PLDT-Cagayan duel will be aired tomorrow, according to the organizing Sports Vision.(pr)
9 a.m. – Cagayan Valley vs Meralco
12:45 p.m. – Army vs PLDT
Army fought back from a blowout loss in the first set with a pair of gutsy escapes in the next two before imposing its will in the fourth to carve out a 13-25, 25-23, 27-25, 25-22 victory over erstwhile unbeaten PLDT Home Ultera yesterday and move within a win from keeping the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference crown before a big crowd at The Arena in San Juan yesterday.
Jovelyn Gonzaga and Dindin Manabat, two of the league’s power hitters who were relegated to the background by the overpowering show of Alyssa Valdez and the rest of the Ultra Fast Hitters from the elims to the semis, finally showed the fierce form expected of them, firing a pair of 16 hits to power the Lady Troopers past the stunned PLDT side.
It was Army’s first win over the young but talent-laden PLDT crew in three meetings in the conference of Season 12 of the league sponsored by Shakey’s. But it came at the most opportune time – Game One of a best-of-three series tipped to go PLDT’s way following the Ultra Fast Hitters’ impressive sweep of the elims and the Final Four.
But the Lady Troopers had other things in mind. Relying on their vast championship experience and bench depth, they came out strong from an embarrassing first-set defeat with Gonzaga and Manabat imposing their will on the net and veteran Nerissa Bautista coming through with key plays that helped anchor Army’s victory.
“Our championship experience helped us,” said Army coach Rico de Guzman, whose wards have made it to the Open finals four times, winning twice, including last year when they swept the Cagayan Valley Lady Rising Suns.
Swept by PLDT in their first two clashes this conference, Army tries to return the compliment as the Lady Troopers seek to wrap it all up in Game Two on Sunday to be aired live on GMA News TV Channel 11 starting at 12:45 p.m., according to the organizing Sports Vision.
Army also denied PLDT’s bid for a historic sweep of the season-opening conference of the league presented by PLDT Home Ultera and backed by Mikasa and Accel.
Valdez still spewed fire and scored 25 hits, including 22 on kills, despite shuttling between the Ateneo, PLDT and national team practices the last few days. But the power-hitting Ateneo standout could only do so much against a well-balanced Army side determined to keep the crown.
In contrast, Manabat, Jovelyn Gonzaga and Rachel Ann Daquis, also members of the national team, came into the match fresher after skipping national team training at the Blue Eagle Gym the day before although Daquis saw action only in the first two sets and finished with a lone hit.
The Ultra Fast Lady Spikers went on attack mode early, taking control in the opening set to cruise to victory. But the Lady Troopers re-grouped and took a 20-15 lead in the second and fended off PLDT, which took eight of the next 12 points including a service ace that pushed it closer, 23-24. A drop shot by Gonzaga, however, enabled Army to hack out the win and level the match.
The two teams fought it out in a back-and-forth third set before PLDT regained a 20-18 advantage and Army roared back behind Gonzaga and Manabat, who blocked younger sister Jaja’s spike to steal the set and go 2-1.
Cagayan Valley warded off Meralco’s tough stand in all three sets and fashioned out a 25-23, 25-21, 25-23 to likewise gain a headstart in their own best-of-three series for third in the league where it all started.
Janine Marciano carried the Lady Rising Suns’ scoring brunt with a 17-hit effort while former MVP Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and Rosemarie Vargas backed her up with 16 and 13 points, respectively, and Pau Soriano, Marivic Meneses and setter Relea Saet combined for 18 hits.
Faye Guevara topscored for Meralco with 14 hits as top hitter Aby Maraño was held to just nine and Steph Mercado and Charleen Cruz struggled with seven and six points, respectively.(pr)
2 p.m. – Cagayan vs Meralco (best-of-three for third)
4 p.m. – PLDT vs Army (best-of-three for title)
Jovelyn Gonzaga dished out a superb all-around performance as Army wore down Cagayan Valley, 25-23, 26-24, 25-17, yesterday to arrange a showdown with powerhouse PLDT Home Ultera for the Shakey’s V-League Season 12-Open Conference crown at The Arena in San Juan City.
Gonzaga rammed in 10 kills and came away with six blocks to finish with 16 hits with last year’s MVP capping her game-long brilliance with nine digs to power the Lady Troopers to the one-hour and 22-minute romp and on track of their title-retention bid in the season-opening conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s.
Dragged into another five-setter, this time by ousted Meralco, PLDT Home Ultera leaned on its key players to eke out a 22-25, 25-15, 21-25, 25-16, 18-16 victory and preserve its unbeaten run heading to the best-of-three finals.
Alyssa Valdez came off the bench to fire 23 hits, including 21 on attacks, while top blocker Jaja Santiago went on attack mode again and banged away 19 points as the Ultra Fast Hitters fended off the Power Spikers’ upset bid to stretch its streak to 10.
Aby Maraño and Maica Morada combined to help power Meralco to victories in the first and third sets but Valdez and company proved steadier in the decider to snatch the win.
Earlier, Honey Royse Tubino also stepped up to fire 14 hits, including 10 attacks, two blocks and two aces, while Mary Jean Balse and Dindin Manabat backing them with 11 and 10 points, respectively, and ace spiker Rachel Ann Daquis adding eight hits.
“She’s been one of our key players and we wouldn’t have reached this far without her,” said Army coach Rico de Guzman, referring to the fiery Iloilo southpaw.
But Gonzaga – and the rest of the Lady Troopers – will have to double their effort when they face the Ultra Fast Hitters in the opener of their best-of-three title duel tomorrow.
PLDT thus finished the single round semis with a 3-0 card while Army ended up with a 2-1 mark and Cagayan and Meralco finished with 1-2 and 0-3, respectively.
Army thus finished the single round semis with a 2-1 mark while Cagayan closed out with a 1-2 mark and dropped to the battle for third with Meralco.
The Lady Troopers missed clinching an outright finals slot when they blew a 2-1 lead and yielded a heartbreaking 21-25, 26-24, 25-20, 24-26, 12-15 defeat to Alyssa Valdez and PLDT, which kept its win run going and took the first championship seat last Sunday.
The Lady Troopers, however, made sure to notch it this time.
“We just focused on winning this one and not think about our missed chances in our last game,” said de Guzman.
This will be Army’s fifth finals appearance in the Open Conference of the league presented by PLDT Home Ultera and backed by Mikasa and Accel, winning it twice four years ago and last year.
Army’s tough net defense likewise held Cagayan’s top scorer Aiza Maizo-Pontillas to just eight hits with Rosemarie Vargas finishing with a topscoring 11 hits and Marivic Meneses, setter Relea Saet, Pau Soriano and Janine Marciano combining for just 19 hits for the Lady Rising Suns, who sorely missed the power and leadership of injured skipper Angeli Tabaquero.
Army actually struggled to ward off Cagayan in the first two sets, needing to toughen up on reception, but cruised to a straight-set romp as the Lady Rising Suns lost steam in the third.
Meanwhile, the Army-Cagayan match will be shown at 1 p.m. today on GMA News TV Channel 11 with the PLDT-Meralco tiff to be aired tomorrow, according to the organizing Sports Vision.(pr)