TMS-Army hands Cagayan first Super Liga Grand Prix loss

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MANILA, Philippines — The Lady Rising Suns failed to duplicate their Shakey’s V-league tournament sweep after yielding to the Lady Troopers in 4 sets, 19-25, 25-14, 25-13, 25-17, at the Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix held at the Arena in San Juan, Friday, November 15, 2013.

Capitalizing on the multiple errors committed by Philippine Army, the girls in Maroon were poised to get win number 2 as they showed no mercy, bombarding their opponents with their offensive prowess and commanding a big lead in the first set, 19-10.

Not to go down without a fight, Lady Trooper Michelle Carolino rallied her teammates via back-to-back spikes which brought them closer at 19-12. Cagayan Valley, though, proved to be too strong after Aiza Maizo, Jeng Kotruang and Wenneth Eulalio teamed up and unleashed hits from all angles that eventually won them the first frame.

In an interview with Army head coach Rico De Guzman after the match, he relayed that every aspect of the plays they trained for were in check in the first canto except their offense.

“Okay ang receive, okay ang set,” he said. “Nagka-problema lang kami sa atake.”

“Maaga pa lang, panay out na ang palo kaya nagka-patong patong na at nagsunod-sunod ang errors.”

But De Guzman was quick to make his adjustments as it was evidently a revitalized Army squad who showed up in the succeeding sets.

The Lady Troopers never looked back as they took the driver’s seat for the rest of the game and not once relinquished their lead.

“Sabi ko lang sa kanila, wag manggigil at wag madaliin ang opensa,” quipped De Guzman. “Yun lang talaga kulang eh.”

“Kaya nung nagawa nila, nagtuloy-tuloy na.”

Huge weight off their shoulders

Being the heavy favorites to win the tournament after being declared victors in a tournament prior to the Grand Prix, the Lady Rising Suns are suddenly in an unfamiliar territory after being outclassed by arch-rival Philippine Army.

After losing to the Lady Troopers in the semi-finals of Philippine Super Liga Invitational last summer, Cagayan successfully regrouped and exacted revenge against their tormentors by defeating Army twice in the eliminations and eventually copping the championship in the Shakey’s V-league Season 10 Open Conference.

Though a little disappointed with his wards’ performance, Cagayan head coach Ernesto “Nes” Pamilar welcomes the loss with arms wide open.

“Ang laking bawas sa pressure sa mga bata!”

“Ang daming humihiling na sweep ulit,” he said. “Ang taas ng expectations after ng V-league.”

Not one to downplay their measly output, Pamilar pointed out that most of his players had an off day in yesterday’s match.

“Off si Aiza at off din si April (Jose),” he added. “Dahil dun, nag-suffer ang depensa namin sa net at sa likod.”

Pamilar frankly stated that Army’s open spikers had a field day in using the blocking, or lack thereof, of his new setter April Jose.

“Kita mo naman, bawat palo pinadadaan kay April,” said the head coach. “Ang masama pa nun, mali yung posisyon ni Aiza sa likod kaya walang coverage.”

“Naloko na!”

Despite a relatively bad day, former UST Tigress Aiza Maizo still provided a 13-point output after uncorking 11 kills and 2 blocks for Cagayan while Thai imports Jeng Kotruang and Patcharee Saengmuang chipped in 13 and 11, respectively. 

Thai import and wing hitter Luangtonglang Wanitchaya indeed had a field day as she led Army with 23 markers off from 20 attacks, 2 blocks and 1 service ace with Mary Jean Balse and Jacq Alarca contributing identical 11 points apiece.

Both teams will face their next assignment on Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig as Army duels powerhouse PLDT Speed Boosters at 2 p.m. while Cagayan tries to finally grab their 2nd win against newcomer RC Cola Raiders at 4 p.m.

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