ANTIQUE, Philippines – First fight, first triumph.
Soaring high with fiery attacks, Central Luzon captured the lead in the eliminations round after winning their first game 21-13, 12-21, 21-12 and took the chance left, forcing Negros Island Region to book an early vacation in the Palarong Pambansa 2017 on Thursday, April 27.
Reigning supreme as the captain of his team, John Gabriel Saddi poured 7 points out of 16 in the final set to bomb a 4-0 run, 17-11, securing their spot on the top.
“Last year kasi hindi kami nakapasok kaya sana magtuloy-tuloy na ‘to,” Central Luzon coach Marites Luzano stated. (Last year, we weren’t able to qualify so I am hoping that this current streak will continue.)
Down by one point, the Pampanga-based striker, Saddi, fueled up two consecutive headings to spark a 5-0 tilt, 10-6, which forced NIR to call a time out in 5:20 minute mark of the last set.
Grade 6 student Riko Yan Korea then came on strong with 5 points, while one point from Denmark Pagala sealed the deal.
Negros-based athletes refused to give up and kept the hope alive as Gemrick Catalonia unleashed 7 points up in the second set to drop a 3-0, ending with an outstanding 21-12, tying 1-1.
But Negros came up short as they gave 10 easy points from their error and faults, kissing their championship dream goodbye.
“Sayang lang na dumayo kami tapos unang laban talo na,” said 12 year-old Catalonia. (It’s such a waste that we traveled this far only to lose on the first fight.)
Central Luzon will face on the 2nd day of the Sepak Takraw games on Friday morning, April 28. – Rappler.com