Army carried out the Shakey’s V-League mission in grand fashion, holding Cagayan Valley to another single-digit output in the second frame before battling back from two points down late in the third to carve out a 25-14, 25-7, 25-23 victory and complete a sweep of the Season 11 Open Conference crown before a full-house crowd at The Arena in San Juan yesterday.
Finals MVP Jovelyn Gonzaga scored two of Army’s last four hits, the first a cross-smash that shattered the 23-all count and the last a down-the-line kill, ending the brief 69-minute encounter and sparking a frenzied celebration by the Lady Troopers, who thus reclaimed the crown they won in Season 8 in 2011.
Held to a close fight after a breeze in the second frame, the Lady Troopers came out of their final huddle smoking, quickly wiping out a 23-21 Cagayan lead as Rachel Ann Daquis rammed in a kill then Gonzaga, loading up at mid-air, fired away a cross-smash to force a tie.
After foiling another Cagayan attack, Army uncoiled another hit before ace setter Tina Salak set up Gonzaga for the big finish.
“I’m lucky to be blessed with great players,” said Army coach Rico de Guzman, who also boasts of former MVPs Mary Jean Balse, a native of Davao del Norte Province, and Nerissa Bautista plus a slew of role players in Genie Sabas, Joanne Bunag and Sarah Jane Gonzales.
But Salak, 38, has hinted at hanging up her jersey to give way to the other young players, including Gonzaga.
“I told coach that this may be my last,” said Salak, an Army Corporal who has been in the service for 17 years. “I’m training her (Gonzaga) as a setter and I see her taking my spot when I leave.”
The victory capped Army’s dominating performance in the mid-season conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s with the Lady Troopers co-topping the elims with Cagayan Valley and PLDT Home Telpad before clinching the top berth in the Final Four.
They swept the Air Force spikers in the semis then clipped the Rising Suns in the opener of the title playoff, highlighted by holding last year’s champions to a finals low out of five in the fourth, 25-19, 18-25, 25-18, 25-5.
As in practically all their matches, Gonzaga, Daquis, Balse and Bautista churned out double-digit outputs with the first three all pumping in 13 hits and Bautista backing them up with 10 points.
Blessed with so many options, Salak produced another solid game of 30 excellent sets while adding six points, the same output put in by Genie Sabas, while libero Christine Agno kept the ball in play with her and Gonzaga’s brilliant digs.
Like in the series opener, the Lady Troopers lorded it over the net on both ends, firing away 46 smashes against the Suns’ 29 and coming through with 11 blocks as against their rivals’ two.
So tough was Army’s defense that no Cagayan spiker scored in double-figure with top hitter Aiza Maizo held to eight points. Pau Soriano wound up with five hits while Rosemarie Vargas, Wenneth Eulalio and Joy Benito chipped in four markers apiece for the Rising Suns, who posted a record 16-game sweep of this conference last year.(pr)
National U star Din Din Santiago finally showed up and Smart-Maynilad outhit Army in the decider of their sudden death to carve out a 21-25, 25-20, 25-13, 21-25, 15-10 victory last night and arrange a showdown with Cagayan Province for the Shakey’s V-League Season 10 Open Conference crown at The Arena in San Juan City.
Santiago, who had been in the Smart-Maynilad roster since the start but only got the go-signal from NU yesterday, blasted 19 kills as she teamed up with Alyssa Valdez and Thai Lithawat Kesinee in delivering the goods on both sides to carry the Net Spikers to victory.
“We were surprised she was given permisssion to play because as of last night (Saturday), there was no word yet if she’d play,” said Smart coach Roger Gorayeb in Filipino referring to Santiago.
But though the troika combined for 65 hits, the Net Spikers still had to go through a decider to overcome the tough-defending Army Women and seal a dream duel with the unbeaten Rising Suns for the championship in the season-ending conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s.
Game One of the best-of-three finals starts tomorrow at 4 p.m. after the 2 p.m. battle for third, also a best-of-three, between Army and Air Force. The awards rites for the conference’s top performers will be held after the Army-Air Force duel.
The 6-foot-1 Santiago, who steered the Lady Bulldogs to their first Shakey’s V-League crown in the First Conference last May where she also bagged the MVP, highlighted her rather late debut with three blocks while altering Army’s offensive thrusts with her intimidating presence on the net.
Valdez played true to form and pummeled Army’s court with 23 kills for a 24-point output while Kesinee backed her with 22 as the third seeded Net Spikers frustrated the No. 2 Army Women in another thriller of a five-setter, their third in four face-offs this conference.
Smart-Maynilad regrouped after dropping the opening set and swept the next two but reeled back in the face of Army’s strong fightback in the fourth that forced the decider.
But the Net Spikers broke away from a tight game at 9-8, racking up four of the next five points for a 13-9 cushion before players sandwiched an Army point for the victory.
Jovelyn Gonzaga and Rachel Anne Daquis paced Army with 17 and 12 hits, respectively, but failed to draw solid support from the rest with Dahlia Cruz, who fired eight points in the last two sets to help Army clinch the Game Two win, failing to score in the second and third sets.
Heading to the do-or-die game, Santiago said on her Twitter account, @dindinquicker16: “Sa lahat po ng umaasa na lalaro po ako for “SMART” wag na po kayo umasa di po talaga ako makakalaro. Di po ako talaga ako pinayagan. (For those hoping I’ll play for Smart, don’t hope anymore because I will not get to play any more because I wasn’t given permission.”
Aiza Maizo and Angeli Tabaquero came through in the decider as Cagayan Province edged Smart-Maynilad, 25-21, 22-25, 25-19, 17-25, 15-13, to extend its amazing run to 10 in the quarterfinal round of the Shakey’s V-League Season 10 Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan City last night.
Maizo and Tabaquero scored on kills to shatter the 13-all count and seal the Rising Suns’ one-hour, 52-minute victory to delight of a season-best 3,000-plus crowd.
“We know it’s going to be a tough game, good thing we delivered in the end,” said Cagayan coach Nes Pamilar in Filipino, whose wards thus repeated over the Net Spikers, whom they swept in the elims.
Thai reinforcement Kannika Thipachot led Cagayan with 22 hits, including 20 kills, while Tabaquero and Maizo finished with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Ateneo standout Alyssa Valdez unloaded 22 hits while Thai import Lithawat Kesinee and Gretchel Soltones added 15 and 12 points for the Net Spikers, who controlled the first half of the fifth set, 8-7, and rallied from 11-13 to send the match into a thrilling finish.
The Rising Suns thus denied the Net Spikers an outright entry to the Final Four as the latter absorbed their fourth loss against six wins.
Earlier, Army squandered a two-set lead and needed to scramble in the decider to repulse a gutsy Air Force side, 25-22, 25-21, 21-25, 19-25, 15-13, and stay within sight of Cagayan Province in the quarterfinal round.
The Army Women leaned on former UAAP MVP and UST standout Mary Jean Balse, Jovelyn Gonzaga and Rachel Anne Daquis in the crunch to thwart the upset bid of their PAF counterparts for their ninth win against a loss, keeping them on track for the No. 1 spot in the Final Four.
They remained just behind unbeaten Cagayan Province (10-0) heading to the last three playdates in the carryover quarters phase of the tournament sponsored by Shakey’s.
Balse, relegated to the background majority of their campaign, provided the experience and poise in a nerve-wracking decider, winding up with 24 hits and topscoring for the team for the first time with a superb performance she spiked with 20 kills and three aces.(pr)
Army stalwarts (from left) Rachel Anne Daquis, Davao del Norte native Mary Jean Balse and Cristina Salak celebrate a crucial hit against the Air Force side.
Jude Ann Caballejo of Air Force (right) fires away a kill against Army’s Jovelyn Gonzaga during their Shakey’s V-League Open Conference clash at The Arena in San Juan.(photo release)
Army flaunted its superb defensive prowess to dispose of Air Force, 25-13, 25-22, 25-18, and serve notice of its title bid in the Shakey’s V-League Season 10 Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan yesterday.
Outhit by the Air Women, 35-37, the Army Women leaned on their net defense to neutralize their rivals, coming through with 11 blocks, including six from Jovelyn Gonzaga to fashion out the straight-set victory.
Army debuted without some of its stars but Gonzaga, Davao del Norte native Mary Jean Balse, Joanne Bunag, Cristina Salak, Jacqueline Alarca, Michelle Carolino and libero Patricia Torres hardly felt their absence and got the job done just the same in 71 minutes.
Gonzaga came away with 16 hits, Balse tossed in 11 and skipper Bunag and setter Salak chipped in nine points apiece for the Army Women, who also boast of Rachel Anne Daquis, Nene Bautista, Ma. Theresa Iratay, Dahlia Cruz and Marietta Carolino.
Army also scored heavily off the serve, delivering eight aces, including four from Balse, as the Troopers overcame the Air Women’s advantage in non-scoring skills – dig (25-34), set (22-25) and reception (10-17) – to hurdle their first match in the season-ending conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s Pizza and backed by Mikasa and Accel.
It was a sorry setback for Air Force, which rallied to seize a 19-17 edge in the second set only to blow it as Gonzaga took charge to turn things around for Army.
Air Force kept it close in the third, forcing a 10-all count but Army re-stamped its class to pull away and deal the Air Women’s second straight setback after a four-set loss to Cagayan Province last Friday.
Joy Cases and Jennifer Manzano scored nine hits apiece for Air Force, which also drew eight points from Maika Ortiz and a combined 15-point output from Wendy Semana, Judy Ann Caballejo, Iari Yongco, Rhea Dimaculangan and skipper Liza de Ramos.
The Cagayan-Air Force duel last Friday will be aired on GMA News TV Channel 11 at 1 p.m. today while yesterday’s Army-Air Force clash will be telecast tomorrow. The Smart-Meralco clash, being played at presstime, will be shown on Wednesday, according to the organizing Sports Vision.(pr)
2 p.m. – Ateneo vs Malaysia
4 p.m. – Army vs Vietnam
Philippine Army pounced on Malaysia’s poor reception and leaned on the Carolino sisters’ power game as it came away with a 25-14, 25-18, 25-21 victory at the start of the V-League Invitational Club Championship before a big crowd at The Arena in San Juan, Thursday.
Michelle and Marietta Carolino rammed in 12 kills apiece while the Troopers scored nine points off the serve, including five from Davao del Norte native Mary Jean Balse, to complete the straight-set romp that augured well in their campaign in the short tournament among four teams.
Michelle added two blocks for a 15-hit production while Marietta and Balse ended up with 13 and 11 points, respectively, for the Troopers, who looked sharp and ready for another title crack after dominating the Shakey’s V-League second conference recently.
The Malaysians struggled with their reception and floor defense and failed to neutralize the Carolino sisters, who stepped their attacks on both sides to prime themselves up for an expected explosive showdown with the fancied Vietnam side on Friday’s resumption of the four-day event sponsored by Shakey’s Pizza.
Vietnam, powered by two Russian hitters and a five-time SEA Games runner-up, likewise geared up for a faceoff with Army by beating Ateneo, 25-15, 25-16, 25-17, later in the day.
Anactaxia Trernai gave a sample of what to expect for the Troopers by unleashing a 12-attack performance while Ekaterina Martynova topscored with 14 hits, including three blocks.
Nguyen Thi Ngoan also scored 12 points while Nguyen Thi Huong and Tran Thi Loan added nine hits apiece to underscore Vietnam’s balanced offensive sock.
Alyssa Valdez and Dzi Gervacio fired 11 hits apiece for the Lady Eagles, who could not get their offense going as Fille Cainglet struggled to finish with nine hits.
Teh Huei Hong topscored for Malaysia with nine hits, including eight kills, but the rest groped for form in the face of the Troopers’ unrelenting attack with Jocelyn Teoh,, Yew Sook Ting, Tan Chiew Lee, Wong Fei Tien and Lim Lay Kuan combining for 21 points.
Rachel Ann Daquis added eight hits for the Troopers, who also drew four points apiece from Joanne Buñag and Cristina Salak, who held the team together with 27 excellent sets. Salak also scored three service aces.
Meanwhile, the organizing Sports Vision said matches can be viewed on live streaming at www.v-league.ph while ringside, lower box and general admission tickets are pegged at P300, P200, and P75, respectively.
All matches will be aired on NBN 4 on a delayed basis with the first game to be telecast in the night of the same day. The second match will be shown the following day.
The Troopers sized their rivals in the early going but quickly asserted their might midway in the opening set although they needed a pair of strong finishing kicks in the next two frames to fashion out the 69-minute victory.
The four teams will clash in a single round-robin format with the top two clashing for the crown and the two others will dispute third place honors in the event being considered to be integrated into the Shakey’s V-League calendar starting next year.(pr)
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)