Rising Suns drop Army rivals, roll to sixth win
MANILA, Philippines - Bracing for a fierce showdown, Cagayan Province scored a surprisingly easy 25-9, 25-16, 25-20 victory over Army to stretch its romp to six in the Shakey’s V-League Season 10 Open Conference before a big Sunday crowd at The Arena in San Juan.
The Rising Suns used their vaunted firepower and court savvy to the hilt to complete the rout with the Thai duo of Phomia Soraya and Kannika Thipachot combining splendidly with top local hitters Angeli Tabaquero, Wenneth Eulalio and Aizo Maizo in clobbering the Army Women and staking their claim as the team to beat in the season-ending conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s.
Soraya came through with the brilliant set plays, Thipachot supplied the points off spikes while Tabaquero, Eulalio, Maizo and the rest of the locals provided the needed back-up to complete the team’s surprising domination of the Army Women in just 62 minutes.
The win also spoiled the return of Rachelle Ann Daquis, who arrived from a vacation in Europe and missed Army’s first three games. The former FEU star, who also played for Ateneo as a guest player, saw action only in the third and scored two hits.
Thipachot finished with 16 kills for a 17-hit output, Tabaquero and Eulalio each had 12 points while Maizo and Soraya added seven markers apiece, with the ace Cagayan setter putting up a whopping 37 excellent sets for a 38 team total, more than twice Army’s 15 excellent sets.
Cagayan’s 43 attacks also doubled Army’s 22-kill effort with the Rising Suns also lording it over at the defensive end with 13 blocks as against Army’s four.
Cagayan’s solid net defense likewise limited Jovelyn Gonzaga to 12 hits while clipping Army’s vaunted attackers, including Michelle Carolino (6), Mary Jean Balse (4), Joanne Bunag (2) and Nene Bautista (1).
Army dropped to 3-1.
Earlier, Navy snapped a three-game skid as it subdued Far Eastern U, 25-23, 25-23, 25-17, to revive its hopes for a quarters berth.
The Lady Sailors hacked out a pair of down-to-the-wire wins in the first two sets then dominated the Lady Tams in the third to complete the sweep in 1:23 and stay in the hunt for the six-team quarters phase with a 1-3 card.
FEU edged Navy in spikes, 37-36, and in serves, 4-3, and proved a bit better in non-scoring skills – 42-36 (set) and 29-14 (reception) – while decently faring in blocks (7-8) and dig (32-33). But the Lady Tams still failed to pull through, dropping to their fifth straight setback.
Mic Mic Laborte came through with a solid, all-around play as she led all scorers with 12 hits, including four blocks. She also drew solid backup from the power-hitting Chris Rosale, who unloaded nine kills late in the first and second frames when Navy parried every FEU challenge. Rosale wound up with 10 hits.
“The key was the first two sets, it could have turned the other way around,” said Navy coach Zenaida Chavez in Filipino.
The Lady Tams dished out superb court coverage but just couldn’t neutralize the Laborte-Rosale duo, losing steam in the third.
Jerrili Malabanan scored eight hits for FEU, which is using this tournament, backed by Mikasa and Accel, as part of its buildup for the coming UAAP Season 76.