MANILA, Philippines – KingWhale Taipei had a rousing debut in the 2022 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) with a hard-earned sweep of the Army Black Mamba Lady Troopers, 26-24, 25-18, 26-24, at the Mall of Asia Arena on Monday, August 8.
Liao Yi-jen led the way with 22 excellent sets in just three sets while Brazilian import Beatriz Carvalho finished as the top scorer with 14 points off 13 attacks and 1 ace.
Now with a 0-4 record, Army Black Mamba is officially out of podium contention after dropping its last five assignments dating back to the elimination round.
Still, the Lady Troopers put up a decent fight and led midway through the second and third sets, but faltered both times. Although Kingwhale led, 23-21, late in the third, Army star Jovelyn Gonzaga capped a 3-0 fightback off a quick hit to end a thrilling long rally for the 24-23 set lead.
However, KingWhale stayed composed as Chang Chih-hsuan scored 2 in Taipei’s final 3-point swing, ending with an off-the-block hit for the win.
“This is the first time that KingWhale mixed the young players and old players, in this tournament in the Philippines. They’re happy that the PVL invited KingWhale Taipei to go here,” said KingWhale head coach Teng Yen-min.
“It’s exciting, the first game. The Army team, we feel they’re strong. And a big venue, because in Taiwan, we never played in a big venue. So it’s the first time. So some of the players felt afraid. But, happy and it was exciting.”
Gelai Nunag shored the defense with 22 excellent digs and 14 excellent receptions as Gonzaga paced the scoring with 8 points and 14 excellent digs.
KingWhale will get little to no rest as it next faces the top-ranked PLDT High Speed Hitters on Tuesday, August 9, 4 pm. – Rappler.com