MANILA, Philippines — It was flashback Friday in San Juan City.
Angeli Tabaquero turned back the hands of time to help Cagayan Valley hammer out a 25-22, 17-25, 25-14, 25-19 victory over gritty Philippine Air Force in the 10th Shakey’s V-League Open Conference on Friday, August 23 at the FilOil Flying V Arena.
Tabaquero, a mainstay of several dominant University of Santo Tomas teams in the past, flaunted her old deadly form as she fired a team-best 21 points on 19 attacks while Kannika Thipachot and Aiza Maizo provided ample help, coming through with 20 and 13 hits, respectively.
“Hindi pa yun iyong pina-practice namin, medyo mababa intensity nila,” said Lady Rising Suns’ head coach Nes Pamilar. “Siguro nga dahil first game, naninibago lang,” he added.
Roces shines for Smart
In the first game, Smart turned to veteran Sue Roces to beat Philippine National Police, 25-14, 25-15, 25-17, for their second straight win.
Roces posted 21 points off 15 aces while NCAA star Gretchel Soltones added 13 for Smart, who grabbed the solo top spot despite missing Ateneo de Manila University ace Alyssa Valdez.
Cagayan Valley took the first set behind the efforts of Tabaquero and Maizo with their solid floor defense, 25-22.
The Airwomen, though, regained its bearings back in the second frame as they gave the Lady Rising Suns’ a dose of their own medicine.
Holding a three point lead, 20-17, Air Force dropped a 5-0 binge to close the set, 25-17 as Judy Caballejo, Maika Ortiz and Iari Yongco took turns in punishing Cagayan Valley’s poor execution on offense.
Coming back with a vengeance
The Lady Rising Suns pummeled the Airwomen in the third set as they pulled away and never looked back, leading by as much as 18-8 off a Leuseht Dawis kill.
Dawis pushed Cagayan Valley into set point, 24-14 before Phomia Soraya ended the set, 25-14.
“Naghihirap talaga sa training si Angge (Tabaquero), hindi siya uma-absent,” stressed Pamilar of his prized spiker.
“Kahit noong nasa Cagayan (Friendship Games) kami ay siya (Tabaquero) na talaga nagdadala sa team,” added Pamilar, whose Lady Rising Suns capitalized on Air Force’s errors that resulted into 31 won points.
It was a nip-and-tuck affair in the fourth frame before Caballejo and Yongco committed back-to-back costly errors that did Air Force in the match, 18-23 as Maizo shoved the Lady Rising Suns into matchpoint, 24-19.
Soraya’s kill went wide to give the Airwomen one last chance to extend the match into a fifth and deciding set, 19-24.
But lady luck did not smile on Air Force.
Maizo put the proverbial nail in the coffin with her signature lefty attack, 25-19.
Caballejo, who recently finished her UAAP career, paced the Airwomen with 18 points. No other player scored in double-digits for Air Force. – Rappler.com