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

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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

 

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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.

Power Pinays enter top 12

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NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Thailand – The Power Pinays officially enters Asian Volleyball Championships top 12 after delivering a dominating performance via a 3-set win against Myanmar at the MCC Hall, The Mall 25-18, 25-22, 25-18.
With the team’s morale at an all-time high following their first win against Sri Lanka, the Philippine national women’s volleyball team showed no mercy as they charged towards the next round of competition; 9th to 12th classification games.
Team captain Angge Tabaquero could not contain her happiness as she relays how big of a dream come true this is for her.
“Sobrang saya!” she exclaims.
“Ang isang panalo, achievement na dahil bago kami.” said Tabaquero. “Eh naka-dalawa pa! Tapos 3 sets pa. Happy fiesta!”
Head coach Nestor Pamilar shares the same sentiments regarding today’s win.
“Ang taas nung pressure nung una. Pero kami, trabaho lang.” he said. “Ang tanging pananagutan namin eh magdala ng karangalan sa bansa.”
“At sa tingin ko, ngayong pasok na tayo sa top 12, mission accomplished tayo diyan.”
The rebirth of Philippine volleyball
The Filipino volleyball aficionados were initially divided when the Power Pinays lineup was released.
While most of the fans are voicing out their support, it was inevitable that some were not satisfied on who made the final cut.
Doc Ian Laurel, the man behind the dream to revive the national volleyball program, admits PH could’ve sent a stronger delegation.
“We wanted to get the biggest and the best but due to some unforeseen circumstances, we failed.” said Laurel.
“It turned out to be a blessing in disguise.”
“These girls may not be the strongest but they certainly have the biggest heart to fight for our country’s pride.”
Pamilar, on the other hand, still looks forward to having these marquee names in collegiate volleyball join the national team.
“Sinimulan natin. Nilatag natin ang programa.” he said. “Ngayong may suporta na galing sa mga kababayan at PLDT Fibr, umaasa tayo na sa susunod, sa tulong nila, mapalakas pa natin ang team na ito.”
Pamilar also addressed the people who doubted his wards’ ability to win games in the AVC.
“Sa totoo lang, malaking tulong sila.” said Pamilar.
“Dahil sa kanila, natuto mga players ko na mag pursige. Hindi para ipahiya yung mga hindi naniwala kundi para patunayan na deserving sila sa suporta.”
Now that the Power Pinays are already assured of a place in the top 12, Pamilar had nothing but one word for those who supported and those who doubted.
“Salamat.” he humbly said.
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Still a lot of work to be done
Honey Royse Tubino top-scored for the Pinays with 8 attacks and 4 blocks amassing 12 points followed by wing spikers Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and Analyn Joy Benito with 11 and 9, respectively.
Though the games were not televised, Filipinos celebrated every point as they tune in to Twitter updates that were provided online.
The hash tag #FibrPowerPinays became the number one trending topic in the Philippines as the nation showered the girls with thousands of congratulatory messages.
Laurel is happy about the attention and the support but reminds everyone that work does not end here.
“Sa suporta lahat nagsisimula.” he said. “Pero it doesn’t mean na nakuha mo na yan (support), titigil ka na.”
“Ang goal natin, mapataas ang level of play ng volleyball. Nasimulan na natin. Kailangan tuloy-tuloyin na.”
Myanmar’s head coach, Banterng Kaopong, believes this Filipino squad will go a long, long way.
“With good program, they will be strong again in Asia.” he predicted.
Enumerating reception, power tips and strong serves as PH team’s strong points, the Myanmar coach, who is originally from Thailand, foresees Philippines’ ascend in the international volley scene.
“I think the PH team is very strong,” he said.
“All they have to do is to keep joining international leagues for experience and they will be big.”
Photos courtesy of DJ Bianca Frost

The Philippine Women’s Volleyball Team PLDT Bomberinas

The Philippine Women's Volleyball Team PLDT Bomberinas

Top (left to right): Faye Guevara, Wenneth Eulalio, Michelle Datuin, Sandra delos Santos, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Honey Royse Tubino, Analyn Joy Benito, Angeli Tabaquero, Pau Soriano and Rosemarie Vargas

Bottor (left to right): Lizlee Ann Gata-Pantone, Angela Benting, May Jennifer Macatuno, Jheck Dionela, Arianne Argarin, Chie Saet and Danika Gendrauli