Suns rise vs Smart Nets
MANILA, Philippines - Cagayan Province shut down Smart-Maynilad’s vaunted attacking game as it carved out a 25-23, 26-24, 25-20 victory to fuel its own win drive in the Shakey’s V-League Season 10 Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan City yesterday.
Maria Angeli Tabaquero fired away 15 hits while Thai guest player Kannika Tipachot, Aiza Maizo and Wenneth Eulalio scattered 14, 13 and 11, respectively, in a superb display of firepower against one of the league’s top-hitting squads.
But it was Cagayan’s net defense that spelled the difference as it took Smart’s open spikers out of their comfort zones to post its second straight win in the season-ending conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s.
Sue Roces and Gretchel Soltones, who averaged 15.7 and 13 spikes after Smart’s sweep of its first three matches, were held to just a combined 13 hits.
“Our game plan was to really deny their open spikers, which we did with success,” said Cagayan coach Nes Pamilar in Filipino.
Maru Banaticla, a UST standout, also blasted 15 hits, 12 on kills, for the undermanned Smart-Maynilad side.
The win came after Cagayan launched its title bid with a 25-22, 17-25, 25-14, 25-19 win over Air Force.
In the second game, Meralco held off a rallying Far Eastern U side and eked out a 25-12, 25-22, 18-25, 23-25, 15-13 victory to record its second five-set win in three starts.
The Power Spikers, who debuted with a 25-17, 17-25, 21-25, 25-15, 15-9 win over Philippine National Police in last Aug. 18 inaugurals, leaned on Chinese recruit Coco Wang, who blocked Bernadeth Pons attack to shatter a 13-all count in the decider and unleash a kill to clinch the victory for Meralco, who improved to 2-1.
Wang finished with 23 points, including 18 attacks, while Maureen Penetrante-Ouano fired 14 hits, Stephanie Mercado and Maica Morada added 11 points apiece, while Fille Cainglet scored 10 hits for the Power Spikers, who were cheered on by Meralco executives, headed by Al Panlilio.
The Lady Tams, who drew a pair of 20-point games from Pons and Mary Palma, dropped to 0-2.
For the fourth straight game Smart played with only eight players as Ateneo standout Alyssa Valdez and reigning UAAP MVP Dindin Santiago of National U sat out again.
Valdez will only get to suit up after the 76th UAAP beach volley tournament, perhaps midway September, while Santiago will only see action during Sundays owing to her heavy academic load.
After snatching the first set in a tight finish, Cagayan slackened in defense, enabling Smart to open a 22-18 lead behind Banaticla and Charo Soriano’s constant pounding.