Cagayan nips Army, sweeps V-League elims
MANILA, Philippines - Cagayan Province took control of the last two sets to turn a 1-2 set deficit into a thrilling 25-15, 20-25, 19-25, 25-18, 15-9 victory over Philippine Army and sweep its way to the Final Four in the Shakey’s V-League Season 10 Open Conference before a big Sunday crowd at The Arena in San Juan City.
Aiza Maizo and Angeli Tabaquero delivered the key hits in the decider as the Rising Suns broke away from a tight 8-7 count in the decider en route to the 1:53-hour victory, their 12th straight, beating the Army Women for the second time this conference and formalizing their claim on the top seeding in the Final Four.
“It’s nice to go to the semifinals on a winning note, we hope to ride on this strong performance,” said Cagayan coach Nes Pamilar in Filipino.
For a while, Cagayan appeared headed for a rare setback as Army came back from an opening set setback by seizing the next two behind the power-spiking duo of Rachel Anne Daquis and Jovelyn Gonzaga.
But Maizo and Tabaquero, along with Thai ace Kannika Thipachot, took charge to dominate the fourth and decider with clutch hitting.
Daquis and Gonzaga finished with 20 and 15 hits, respectively, but failed to deliver when their team needed it most.
Cagayan will take on No. 4 Air Force in the best-of-three semis beginning tomorrow with the No. 2 Army and the third seeded Smart-Maynilad clashing for the other finals berth.
The Rising Suns won four of next five points after changing court in the fifth to turn a shaky 8-7 margin into a 12-8 lead then took three of the next four points to wrap up the match and re-assert their mastery over the Army Women, whom they swept in the elims.
The five-setter was also Cagayan and Army’s third straight game that went the distance, underscoring the level playing field in the league sponsored by Shakey’s.
Thipachot finished with 24 hits while Tabaquero and Maizo dished out a 17-point game each as the Rising Suns head to their duel with the Air Women oozing with confidence following a 12-game run.
In contrast, Army goes to its keenly awaited showdown with a souped-up Smart-Maynilad squad reeling from back-to-back setbacks.
Rachel Anne Daquis fired 20 hits while Jovelyn Gonzaga added 15 for the Army Women, who seized control after three sets but lost steam in the face of the Rising Suns’ mighty comeback.
Earlier, Air Force, behind Joy Cases and Judy Caballejo, subdued Phl National Police, 25-16, 26-22, 14-25, 25-17, to finish with a 7-5 card.
Cases unloaded 22 kills for a 24-point game while Caballejo added 17 hits as the Air Women recovered from a third set defeat to finish off the Patrolers with a strong fourth-set performance.
Maika Ortiz tossed in eight markers while skipper Liza de Ramos and Wendy Semana added seven points apiece for Air Force, which will face powerhouse Cagayan Province in tomorrow’s Final Four.
Thai Sangmuang Patcharee came through with 17 hits while Frances Molina and Janine Marciano combined for 29 points for PNP which closed out their stint in the season-ending conference of the league backed by Mikasa and Accel with a 2-10 mark.