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


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.





Cagayan notches 3rd win, sends Cignal back to the drawing board


MANILA, Philippines — Cagayan Valley snatched their third win in four games after disposing of Cignal in four grueling sets, 25-14, 18-25, 27-25, 25-23, at the Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix held at the Ynares Sports Center in Pasig, Wednesday, November 27, 2013.

Now that each of the six squads is battling for positioning, the Lady Rising Suns proved they are still one of the teams to beat in the tournament as they rank second, tied with rival TMS-Army and behind league-leader PLDT, after winning against the HD Spikers.

With two legendary coaches at the helm, the match between two of the best clubs in the country did not disappoint spectators as the last 2 frames went down the wire as expected.

Tied at 22 at the third, Cagayan almost ran away with the set after back-to-back points from Wanida Kotruang’s attack and Wenneth Eulalio’s service ace. 

Fortunately for the girls in red and white, Thai import Wanida Kotruang made 2 consecutive errors which put the HD Spikers back in the game, 24-all.

Wanting to make up for her lapses, Kotruang scored a point via a strong spike off the hands of her blockers but the lead was immediately squashed by the Cebu-native, Abigail Praca, with a down the line attack to even the score again at 25-all.

With too much at stake, chinese import Xie Lei committed a crucial service error, giving the lead and set point back to Cagayan, 26-25.

To the dismay of Cignal head coach Sammy Acaylar, referees Lumer Pajarillo and Dante Malazarte unanimously called a lifting violation on Abigail Praca’s power tip giving the highly contested 3rd set to the Lady Rising Suns.

Clearly not happy with the call, Acaylar retaliated on the sidelines while talking and pointing to the referees saying “Buti sana kung hindi crucial eh!” which eventually resulted to a yellow card (warning) for Cignal.

Setter Chie Saet considers Cignal’s lack of focus the reason why they yielded to Cagayan in yesterday’s match.

“Nakakasabay naman kami,” said Saet. “Sa dulo lang talaga, nawawalan kami ng kapit.”

It also baffles the back-to-back player of the game awardee why they were not able to receive well when it is the team’s focus on their training the day prior to the match.

Cagayan, who had a lot of service errors, still managed to score a total of 10 aces against the Cignal’s faulty reception.

“Pinag-focus talaga kami sa reception during last night’s training,” added Saet. “Sayang lang na dun pa kami naunahan ng kalaban.”


On the other hand, Lady Rising Suns head coach Ernesto Pamilar said his wards could have done better if only they were able to avoid service errors.

“Ang dami!” he said.

“Naghahabol ka ng lamang ng kalaban, tapos biglang service error,” added Pamilar. “Buti na lang bawing bawi sa service ace.”

Pamilar also noted that after having drills after drills to make their plays more fast paced, he’s still not satisfied with how they are performing.

According to him, these minor issues need to be remedied fast as they have not much time to relax since this is just a month-long league.

“Mabagal pa rin ang plays natin,” said Pamilar, addressing his girls. “Pagbalik natin sa ensayo, ta-trabahuhin natin yan.”

“Mabilis lang ang tournament na ito ‘di tulad ng (Shakey’s) V-league,” lectured Pamilar. “Kung gusto nating mag adjust, kailangan simulan na natin agad-agad.”

Cagayan’s Thai imports led the charge for win number three with Kotruang top-scoring via 21 points from 16 attacks,  service aces and a solitary block while player of the game Patcharee Saengmuang contributed 17 big points off of 14 spikes, 2 blocks and an ace.

Likewise, Cignal’s chinese imports had the most output with Li Zhanzhan scoring a total of 16 points from 14 attacks and 2 blocks while Xie Lei chipped in 13 points, 12 coming from spikes and 1 from a block.

Both teams will be facing their toughest assignment to date as Cignal will be pitted against defending champion TMS-Army Lady Troopers on Friday, November 29, 2013, while Cagayan will slug it out with the still undefeated PLDT Speed Boosters on December 1, 2013. Both matches will be held at the Ynares Sports Center in Pasig.

Cagayan hands RC Cola 2-game skid in PH Super Liga


MANILA, Philippines — Another good start unsustained.

RC Cola’s bid to notch their maiden win failed anew after being defeated by the Lady Rising Suns in 4 sets, 25-23, 16-25, 18-25, 12-25, at the Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix held yesterday, November 20, 2013 at the Ynares Sports Center in Pasig.

Just like what happened in their Liga debut against TMS-Army, the Raiders had another break down after successfully completing a first frame upset against frontrunner Cagayan.

Up by one in the first set, 18-17, RC Cola capitalized on Joy Benito’s service error and Jen Reyes’ shaky floor defense as they scored 3 straight points, 21-17.

With a crossing violation called on Cagayan’s import Wanida Kotruang and a joust against Pau Soriano won by Zharmaine Velez, a 5-0 run was completed by the Raiders extending the lead to 6, 23-17.

Kotruang stopped the bleeding for Cagayan Valley with a down the line kill but their celebration was immediately put to a halt as RC Cola’s Zhang Minghua brought her team to set point, 24-18, via her own version of a kill.

With a tough mountain to climb and a seemingly insurmountable lead to surpass, the Lady Rising Suns created a 5-0 run of its own which started with a double contact called on the Raiders’ setter, Ren Agero.

After two service aces from Kotruang and back-to-back attacks from Wenneth Eulalio and Patcharee Saengmuang, Cagayan was threatening to force a deuce but Minghua said enough is enough as she finally won the first canto for the ladies in blue with a cross court hit.

Zhang Minghua had a monster performance after firing off 24 points from 18 spikes, 3 service aces and 3 blocks while co-import Sontaya Kaewbundit provided the much-needed support with 14.

A sign of good things to come

After losing the closely contested first set, Cagayan head coach Ernesto “Nes” Pamilar was more confident than worried regarding his wards’ performance for the rest of the match.

According to the former FEU women’s volleyball team head coach, his girls’ hustle towards the end of the first frame was a sign that they were really in it to win it.

“Sa first set, di biro yung limang puntos na hinabol nila,” said Pamilar. “Kaya ako, kumpiyansa ako dun pa lang na maliban sa kundisyon sila, eh lalaban talaga.”

Proving Pamilar’s theory, the girls in maroon and white showed more power and grit by winning the succeeding sets in dominating fashion and even having a humongous 14-point lead in the 4th.

For coach Nes, the issue with regard to setter April Jose’s gelling with her attackers is starting to be solved by the team’s constant togetherness through their daily training at the Arena in San Juan.

In fact, the night before their game against RC Cola, the Lady Rising Suns had a tuneup match against UAAP stalwart National University to gauge where they stand regarding their setting woes.

“Hindi na sapat yung drills lang na training eh.” quipped Pamilar.

“Kailangan na ng mga tuneup laban sa malalakas na team kung ayaw namin mapag-iwanan,” he added. “Kita mo naman ang resulta, unti-unti nagko-konek na si April sa attackers.”

With a successful comeback after a sorry loss against TMS-Army last week, Pamilar anticipates a tougher assignment next Wednesday, November 27, 2013, as they are set to face Cignal, who is currently with a 1-1 win-loss card.

“Importante na bawat laban dito dahil single round-robin lang ito.” he reiterates. 

“More tuneup games pa at ayusin yung defense pattern sa likod, lalarga na itong Cagayan.”

Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand-native Wanida Kotruang top-scored with 23 points off of 17 attacks, 3 blocks and 3 service aces while Aiza Maizo and Patcharee Saengmuang contributed 13 and 12, respectively, for Cagayan.


Photo courtesy of PH Super Liga FB Page


Cagayan wins first game of the PH Super Liga Grand Prix


MANILA-PHILIPPINES — Cagayan Lady Rising Suns easily scored their first win after defeating Petron Lady Blazers in straight sets at the Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix held at San Juan Arena, Sunday, November 10, 2013.

The two teams, who finished 4th and 3rd place, respectively, at the Super Liga Invitational last summer, picked up where they left off as they bannered marquee names from the local volleyball scene in the season opener with Cagayan emerging victorious, 25-20, 25-14, 25-22.

Petron’s head coach Vilet Ponce de Leon concludes their lack of time to practice and prepare did them in on their first match of the conference.

“We just had one week to prepare,” said de Leon. “Though daily ang training, nagsimula lang ang practice namin when the imports flew in to Manila.”

De Leon, who is also an assistant coach of the UST women’s volleyball team, said that her team needs to work on their communication inside the court to break into the win column.

“Pati imports namin nagpapakiramdaman pa,” she adds. “Never pa din kasi sila naglaro together kahit na they’re both from Japan.”

The Lady Blazers tried to extend the game to a 4th set by making a 6-0 run at the 3rd frame to keep the score close at 23-22 but eventually shot themselves in the feet with an attack error from Gervacio and a reception error which resulted to a regalo and a win for Cagayan.

Dzi Gervacio top-scored for Petron in her Super Liga debut with 9 markers from 6 attacks and 3 blocks followed by Shinako Tanaka and Micmic Laborte with 6 and 5, respectively.

The start of a winning tradition?

After completing a historic 16-0 sweep at the Shakey’s V-league Open Conference, the Cagayan Lady Rising Suns extended their winning streak as they tuck another win under their belt on day one of the Grand Prix.

Though satisfied with his wards’ performance, head coach Nes Pamilar tried to play it down by saying there are still a lot of things the team needs to improve on.

“Maganda naman ang nilaro ng mga bata,” said Pamilar. ” Pero madami din kailangan i-improve.”

“Una na diyan, medyo mabagal ang plays namin kanina,” he adds. “At pangalawa, kahit ang ganda ng receive, di ako kumbinsido sa blocking.”

Cagayan, who has TMS-Army as its next assignment, has its plate full as they will be battling a team with an intact lineup and 2 imports to boot.

According to Pamilar, the schedule ahead is tough which is why they need to work on the squad’s chemistry hard and fast.

“Bago ang setter namin eh,” he quipped. “Pero tiwala ako na ilang games pa, magkaka-amuyan na din si April (Jose) at yung spikers niya.”

“Pagpatuloy lang nila ang magandang floor defense at ayusin ang blocking, magandang laban ang mapapanood ng tao sa Biyernes,” said Pamilar, talking about the Cagayan-Army match happening on November 15, 2013 at the Arena in San Juan.

Player of the game Pau Soriano fired off 11 points from 9 attacks and 2 blocks while Thai import Wanida Kotruang and ex-Lady Blazer Aiza Maizo chipped in 12 and 11 respectively.

Photo courtesy of DJ Bianca Frost

Leuseht Dawis skips UAAP 76, joins Cagayan for PH Super Liga


MANILA, Philippines — In a surprising turn of events, Lady Warriors team captain Leuseht Dawis confirms that she will not be playing her final playing year for UE this coming UAAP volleyball season 76. At least not yet.

After showing tremendous improvement during the off-season, people expected Dawis to lead UE’s campaign to finally make it back to the Final 4 after failing to do so in the last 6 years.

According to Leuseht, the management has bigger plans for her and the rest of the squad.

“Hindi naman po totally hindi na maglalaro,” she explains. “I will skip this season, then babalik next year for season 77.”

“UE po kasi ang host next year kaya they want us to properly represent the school by having a strong lineup.”

She adds that she was informed of the decision to skip season 76 yesterday and that she agrees with the management’s call.

“I found out yesterday po,” said Dawis. “And it makes sense naman po kaya um-agree na din ako.”

Back with Cagayan

With this development, Dawis is now expected to join Cagayan Valley Lady Rising Suns in the club league Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix which kicks off today at the San Juan Arena at 1p.m.

Cagayan’s head coach Nes Pamilar said yesterday that once Dawis obtains a clearance to play from UE, she will definitely be added in the roster for the Rising Suns.

“Gusto natin na malinaw lahat,” said Pamilar. “So pag nai-abot niya sa akin ang clearance from UE, agad-agad idadagdag natin siya sa lineup.”

Dawis sees no problem with this requirement from Pamilar.

“Sa Monday po asikasuhin ko na.”

“Sayang din po kasi yung chance na magtuloy-tuloy yung improvement,” adds Dawis. “Ang dami ko pong natutunan off-season at madami pa pong kailangan matutunan for UAAP next year.”

“More than anything, I’m excited to be better po para makatulong pong ma-i-angat ang ranking ng UE next year.”

Other than Dawis, Lady Warrior Shiesa Nebrida will also not be seeing volleyball action with UE come December after deciding to forgo her remaining playing years with the team.

Photos courtesy of Sir Joey Villaluz