Unbeaten no more: Army draws first blood over PLDT
MANILA, Philippines - The Army Lady Troopers moved a step closer to winning the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference title after securing a 4-set victory over PLDT in Game 1 of the finals, 13-25, 25-23, 27-25, 25-22, on Thursday, May 21, at the FilOil Flying V Arena.
Former National University standout Dindin Santiago-Manabat and veteran spiker Jovelyn Gonzaga led the way for the winning squad with 16 points each as Army became the first team this V-League conference to defeat the Alyssa Valdez-led PLDT.
Valdez, an MVP of the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament, was her usual impressive self with 25 points. Santiago’s younger sister, Jaja, was the second-leading scorer for PLDT with 11 markers, while long-time volleyball standout Sue Roces registered 9 points.
PLDT looked dominant in the first set, easily winning by a comfortable margin of 12 points as Valdez and Santiago had their way with the Lady Troopers.
But the second set saw a new Army team which didn’t let their opposition get off to a big lead and eventually established a 24-21 lead thanks to timely scores from their veterans.
Consecutive conversions by Roces and Valdez cut the lead to one as PLDT went on a late hurrah, but a drop score by Gonzaga closed the door on a potential comeback.
The third set had Army in danger late, with PLDT going on top 24-22 following a running conversion by Roces.
But the Lady Troopers converted on the next two rallies to tie the contest and then took a 25-24 lead after a service ace by Mary Jean Balse. On the next rally, the elder Santiago blocked her younger sister to give her team a second straight set win.
The fourth set was tied at 19 at one point before a 6-3 run by the Lady Troopers sealed them the victory.
Game 2 of the 3-game finals is on Sunday, May 24.
In the earlier contest, the Cagayan Valley Lady Rising Suns took down the Meralco Power Spikers in straight sets, 25-23, 25-21, 25-23, to win Game 1 of their best-of-3 series for the third place award of the conference. Game 2 is also on Sunday.
Janine Marciano led the Lady Rising Suns with 17 points while Faye Guevara had a season-high 14 points for Meralco.