MANILA, Philippines – Army carved out an emphatic three-set victory over Cagayan Valley on Sunday to claim the Shakey's V-League Season 11 Open Conference championship in front of a jampacked San Juan Arena.
Army needed only 69 minutes to do away with Cagayan, 25-14, 25-7, and 25-23, and complete a two-game sweep of their best-of-three Finals series.
As they did in the first game, Army again held Cagayan to a single digit output in the second frame but were pushed to the limit in the third as Cagayan took a 23-21 lead.
Season MVP Rachel Ann Daquis teamed up with Finals MVP Jovelyn Gonzaga to lead Army's rally, with Gonzaga scoring two of her team's last four points, including a down-the-line hit that gave them the set.
"I'm lucky to be blessed with great players," Army coach Rico de Guzman told the league website.
Aside from Daquis and Gonzaga, de Guzman also has in his team former MVP's Mary Jean Balse and Nerissa Bautista along with star setter Tina Salak.
The game was a fitting end for a dominant season for Army, which clinched the top spot in the Final Four and swept Air Force in the semi-finals before dominating Cagayan Valley – last season's Open Conference champions – in the Finals.
Army won Game 1, 25-19, 18-25, 25-18, and 25-5.
In the second game, four players finished in double-digits for Army, with Balse, Gonzaga and Daquis finishing with 13 points each and Bautista adding 10 markers. Salak was her usual steady self, finishing with 71 excellent sets.
On the other hand, no player scored in double-digits for Cayagan Valley, with Aiza Maizo only scoring eight points.
Meanwhile, PLDT Home Telpad forced a do-or-die showdown for third place after beating Air Force, 25-18, 25-23, and 25-15, in an earlier game.
DinDin Santiago scored 19 points for PLDT Home.