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