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.
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.