Foreword: for some reason I can't seem to find anyone who take photos of the games on Fridays. For next week's Friday twinbill, I will make certain that someone will be helping me provide the needed image support for these SVL updates. Thank you for your patience and support, @NoelZarate
Philippine Air Force—1-2
Philippine National Police—0-2
Far Eastern University—0-3
GAMES ON SUNDAY (September 1 at The Arena, San Juan City)
2:00PM Philippine Army vs. Philippine Navy
4:00PM Cagayan Valley vs. Meralco
THE ARENA, San Juan City—The Philippine Air Force and the Cagayan Valley Rising Suns made short work of their respective opponents to the tune of similar straight sets victories in the preliminary round of the ongoing Shakey’s V-League Open Conference here.
Philippine Air Force def. FEU—25-20, 25-21, 25-19
Airwomen open-spikers Judy Ann Caballejo and Joy Gazelle Cases led PAF in scoring as their scorching bombs found their targets against the Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tamaraws to finally break into the win column and relegate their adversaries to the bottom of the team standings in this eight-team tournament.
The Lady Tamaraws, coming off a heartbreaker of a loss against the Meralco Power Spikers just last Tuesday (August 27) seemed to have found the right formula to become a contender and hopefully advance to the next stage of the conference. But the setback—their third in as many matches—pushes their chances of moving on to very slim.
FEU drew an inspired performance once again from middle-hitter Remy Palma, this time backstopped by recuperating junior Toni Basas as both youngsters led the team with eleven markers apiece, but missed the services of key players in Samantha Dawson and Bernadeth Pons who lit up the scoreboard in the loss against Meralco with twenty points—sharing team-high honors with Palma. Both had school obligations to attend to and FEU was not left with enough offensive options against the veteran core of the Airwomen.
They are already without applicant Charlene Nerio, who opted to return to the United States and is reportedly not returning for the rest of the conference; another blow to FEU's rocky campaign thus far.
Apart from the kills provided by Caballejo and Cases, it was the superb setting of former FEU star Wendy Ann Semana that had the Airwomen flying-high. Semana, a former UAAP Finals MVP in 2008, collected 22 excellent sets to go along with eight points as PAF more than stole the thunder from the college students from Morayta. Center Maika Ortiz added nine points for the Airwomen, while skipper Liza de Ramos added seven.
PAF next tests the mettle of the Smart-Maynilad Net Spikers, while the Lady Tamaraws take on presently undefeated Cagayan Valley. Both matches are on Friday (September 6th).
Cagayan Valley def. Philippine Navy—25-12, 25-12, 25-16
Speaking of the Rising Suns, Cagayan Valley rudely welcomed the last team to finally see action in the tournament as they hammered the Philippine Navy in three lopsided sets.
Cagayan Valley, whose line-up includes ten candidates to the national team which will see action in the upcoming Asian Championship in Thailand, never allowed the Lady Sailors to conjure up any form of momentum as the Rising Suns effectively diffused Navy’s veteran core led by multi-awarded Mic-Mic Laborte and former league Best Setter Janet Serafica. Cagayan Valley were led by the two-pronged attacks from the UST duo of team captain Angge Tabaquero and lefty Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, who registered thirteen and twelve points, respectively. Starting Thai setter Phomla Soraya even took practically the latter two sets off as national team aspirant Chie Saet orchestrated the Rising Suns offense splendidly via 25 excellent sets, against Serafica’s twelve.
For the Lady Sailors, no individual was able to break into double figures in scoring with former DLSU attacker Cecille Tabuena-Cruzada coming away as the leading scorer for the squad with only six markers, meekly supported by Laborte’s five and Cebuana center Abby Praca with five as well. PAF missed the services of former University of the East scoring machine Kiteh Rosale, which compounded their woes.
The Lady Sailors next take on the unscathed Philippine Army Lady Troopers, while Cagayan Valley looks to stay perfect when it locks horns with the dangerous Power Spikers. Both tiffs are scheduled for this Sunday (September 1).
After Sunday’s double-header, I will start handing out my first set of fictitious accolades wherein I will fete those deserving and unenviable performers from the first two weeks of the Open. We’ve had a “rain delay” tweak our skeds so I will be handing these out a week late, but nevertheless, it’s always great to acknowledge those personalities who make our lives better with each match they compete in.
Sev Sarmenta will still be doing this Sunday’s matches, this time with Anne Remulla and still with Miakka Lim still patrolling the sidelines, while I take a temporary hiatus from broadcasting this weekend. Email me your suggestions on how we can make the coverage better and any thoughts about how we can make the league a kick-ass one--not that it isn't already. Remember that we’re on our tenth season, and we’d like you to be part of its fireworks.
Philippine Air Force (1-2) def. FEU (0-3)
PAF—Caballejo 12, Cases 10, Ortiz 9, Semana 8, de Ramos 7, Manzano 4, Dimaculangan 2, Balmaceda (L) 0, Abanto 0.
FEU—Basas 11, Palma 11, Simborio 6, Sy 4, Casugod 3, Bagang 2, Malabanan 1, Torres 1, Agno (L) 0, Atienza 0, Papa 0.
Cagayan Valley (3-0) def. Philippine Navy (0-1)
Cagayan Valley—Tabaquero 13, Maizo-Pontillas 12, Eulalio 7, Thipachot 7, Saet 4, Soraya 3, Benito 3, de los Santos 3, P. Soriano 2, Dawis 2, Puylong 1, Dionela (L) 0, Vargas 0.
PN—Tabuena-Cruzada 6, Laborte 5, Praca 5, Nebrida 3, Cerveza 2, Suson 2, Cais (L) 0, Fajardo (L) 0, Serafica 0, Mirabueno 0, Simbajon 0.
Follow Noel Zarate on Twitter (@NoelZarate) and email firstname.lastname@example.org