The RC Cola Army Troopers swept the Foton Toplander in straight sets, 25-21, 25-17, 25-23, to secure the spot on the Final Round of the Philippine Super Liga Invitational tournament, Tuesday afternoon at the Imus Sports Complex.
Army’s Jovelyn Gonzaga was excellent throughout the game. She scored a game-high 22 points, doubling the output of the next highest scorer. Other notable contributors to Army’s cause were Rachel Anne Daquis and Joanne Bunag, who scored eight points each.
Foton, on the other hand, were led by Maika Ortiz’s 11 points. Danna Henson and team captain Angeli Araneta pitched in eight and seven points respectively.
While Army were able to dispatch Toplander in the opening set, the second had Foton snapping at RC Cola’s heels halfway through the set. Army, however, blew the lid wide open, as their slim 13-12 lead almost instantly turned into a 20-14 advantage. Foton were able to string together consecutive points, forcing an Army error followed by an Ivy Remulla block, but Army’s victory was inevitable as they scored five of the last six points.
Despite opening strong, Army quickly got into a funk in the third set. After establishing a 4-1 lead through a Royse Tubino off the block kill followed by a Gonzaga point, Foton were able to tie the set via a Remulla tip. From there, things started to go awry for the Army Troopers. Numerous attack errors by Army helped Toplander go on an 8-0 run, with half of those points coming from Army errors. All of a sudden Army found themselves at a 14-7 disadvantage.
Being a veteran squad, Army were able to recoup their losses and bounce back. Nene Bautista opened the Army blitz with an off-the-block shot followed by a service ace, igniting a 6-1 Army run that ended with a Gonzaga error.
Still trailing at 21-21 after an Ortiz running attack, Army were finally able to retake the lead after a Michelle Carolino off-speed hit and a Bunag block on Henson, forcing a Foton timeout. The timeout didn’t benefit Foton, though, as Army eventually ran away with the win.
Now with a 4-0 record, Army are assured of a spot in the Final Round, Foton, on the other hand, are officially eliminated from qualifying for the next round with a 1-3 record.
The RC Cola Army Troopers next opponent will be the still-undefeated Petron Tri-Activ Spikers on Thursday, March 17, 4pm at the Filoil Flying V Centre. Meanwhile, Foton will go against the Cignal HD Spikers on the same day at 6pm.
RC Cola Army (3) – Gonzaga 22, Bunag 8, Daquis 8, Bautista 7, Sabas 6, Tubino 6, Delos Reyes 2, Salak 1, Nunag L, Agno L.
Foton (0) – Ortiz 11, Henson 8, Araneta 7, Remulla 6, Orendain 5, Dimaculangan 4, Estampa 1, Macatuno 0, Dawson 0, Tabaquero L, Acevedo L.