Cagayan Valley enters final four, sets up showdown against rival TMS-Army

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MANILA, Philippines — After losing to PLDT and missing the chance to get one of the first two slots in the final four, Cagayan Valley officially enters the semifinals as they torch RC Cola in 4 sets, 25-21, 25-18, 15-25, 25-9, at the playoffs of the Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix held at Ynares Sports Center, Wednesday, December 4, 2013.

Missing the train to an easier route to the semis, the Lady Rising Suns had to go through a roadblock and be pitted once again against the still-winless Raiders wherein the former emerged as victors of the sudden-death round.

Leading two sets to none, Cagayan Valley threatened to take the match in straight sets and march into the semifinals but to no avail.

Capitalizing on the Cagayan’s 7 unforced errors midway through the third frame, RC Cola unleashed a barrage of loaded services and scored 8 points off of it to help them win the set and extend the game to a fourth.

As if dropping the set was a wake-up call, the ladies in maroon came back all business in the fourth canto as they led the Raiders for the rest of the match.

With a 9-point lead in the second technical time out, 16-7, the Lady Rising Suns showed no mercy as they piled up points after points via attacks and offensive blocks creating an 8-0 run which further buried RC Cola, 23-7.

Cagayan’s run to the finish was put to a halt as setter April Jose committed a service error followed by a faulty attack from former UE Lady Warrior Leuseht Dawis, giving an opening for the Raiders to inch closer, 23-9.

Dawis, who was fresh from the bench, immediately made up for it by scoring an off the block hit, sending her team to match point, 24-9. 

Joy Benito, designated setter who subbed for Jose, hit the final nail in the coffin as she ended a long rally and the match with an unexpected attack on the second ball.

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The win, according to Cagayan head coach Ernesto Pamilar, should be credited to the team’s joint effort as they all heeded his call for all of them to contribute and not let the imports do all the work.

“Ang sabi ko sa kanila, hindi pwedeng i-asa na lang nila sa imports lahat ng pag puntos.” Pamilar said.

“Nung nakaraang V-league, lahat ng starting six maliban sa setter, double digits,” he added. “Yun ang hinanap ko sa kanila at yun din naman ang binigay nila.”

True enough, the Lady Rising Suns’ scoreboard was commendable this time around having 5 attackers with double digit outputs led by Patcharee Saengmuang with 19 points, Angge Tabaquero with 14, Aiza Maizo with 13 and middle blockers Pau Soriano and Wenneth Eulalio with 10 apiece.

In total contrast, only imports Sontaya Kaewbundit and Zhang Minghua were able to break into the 10-point mark for RC Cola having 16 and 14, respectively, followed by a measly 5-point game from Jill Gustilo.

Now with TMS-Army next on Cagayan’s tough list of assignments, Pamilar pointed out that from this point on, his team’s focus would be on service receive and service receive alone.

He relates that, so far, he’s already satisfied with their offense but some minor tweaking needs to be done on their floor defense.

“Nung natalo sa PLDT, sa receive kami nadale,” said Pamilar. “Kanina, sa third set, dun na naman.”

“Kaya pagbalik ng training, reception ang focus.” he quipped.

“Pag maayos ang receive, makaka-diskarte ang setter, makaka-palo ang attacker.”

The Lady Rising Suns will be facing the second ranked TMS-Army Lady Troopers in another do-or-die match of the Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix semifinals on Saturday, December 7, 2013, 2p.m. at the Ynares Sports Center in Pasig.

 

 

 

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.