DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The National Capital Region (NCR) and Western Visayas arranged a title showdown after conquering separate semifinal opponents in the secondary boys volleyball competition of the 2019 Palarong Pambansa.
NCR, powered by the National University juniors team, overwhelmed host Davao, 25-18, 26-24, in the semifinals on Friday, May 3, at the jampacked Human Kinetics Gym of the Davao City Sports Complex in the University of the Philippines Mindanao.
Led by prized spiker Michael Fortuna, NCR smothered the host region with bombs after bombs to easily close the first frame with a seven-point margin.
Davao, though, put up a fight and gave the home crowd some hope with a heart-stopping sequence in the 2nd set.
From a three point deficit, 20-23, Davao rallied to force a 24-all deadlock but NCR responded with back-to-back points to sweep the match.
“Medyo nahirapan kami sa pangalawang set kasi naapektuhan sila ng mga crowd. Alam mo naman yung crowd, iba talaga,” said NCR coach and NU juniors mentor Edgar Barroga. “Kaya sabi ko na lang sa kanila gawin nilang tugtog yung crowd para mas maganda yung sayaw nila.”
(We had a hard time in the 2nd set because the players got affected by the crowd. I just told them to think of it as music and just go with it.)
A tough finale awaits NCR at 8 am on Saturday against Western Visayas, which earlier overcame defending champion Central Luzon in the other semifinal showdown, 25-18, 23-25, 28-26, in what was perhaps the longest game of the day.
Led by young spiker Jian Salarzon, the Visayans turned back Central Luzon in the 1st set.
But the Central Luzon spikers, relying on their unyielding defense, proved steady amid several deadlocks before forcing a sudden death.
The decider turned out to be just as tight but the Visayans showed more poise in the endgame.
Davao and Central Luzon will fight for the bronze at 7:30 am on Saturday.
NCR also topped the girls side with a 25-18, 28-27 decision over Davao in the semifinals on the same day.
Western Visayas’ girls team, on the other hand, demolished neighbor region Eastern Visayas 25-16, 25-16, to also secure a slot in the finals. – Rappler.com
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