The Army Lady Troopers staved off an early scare and put away the Meralco Power Spikers in four sets, 24-26, 25-17, 25-20, 25-22 in the first round of eliminations in the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference.
Army received significant contributions from everyone who played, leading to decisive advantages in attacking (56-41) and blocking (13-6 kills). Rachel Ann Daquis and Dindin Santiago-Manabat led Army’s assault with 16 and 13 points respectively while Royse Tubino and Tina Salak each pitched in nine points apiece. In her first game this season, Jovelyn Gonzaga played all four sets and finished with eight points.
The first set looked like it was going to be an Army clinic as they led through the first and second technical timeouts by five points. Meralco stormed back to force a deuce in which La Salle’s Paneng Mercado delivered the final two points to give Meralco its only set win.
From there, Army went on to dominate the next three sets with Manabat and Daquis pulling Army out of cold stretches in the match. Army established leads of up to eight points in their won sets and managed to stave off any sort of rally Meralco conjured.
Despite the win, Army Coach Rico De Guzman is still left unsatisfied with his teams offense. “Okay na naman kami sa receive. ‘Yun nga lang mas marami pa kaming binibigay na puntos pag ‘di nababasa ng maayos ng mga spiker ko ‘yung mga set ni Tina [Salak]. Ang hiling ko lang sa mga civilian players ko na pag may libre silang oras, mag-training sila sa amin kasi tuwing game pa rin lang kami nakukumpleto,” De Guzman said.
La Salle’s Aby Maraño and Paneng Mercado both pitched in 12 points for Meralco. FEU’s Maica Morada dished out nine points but struggled for of the match as she gave away more attack errors.
Army now hold solo claim to the second spot with a 3-1 sanding while Meralco.moves to third at 2-1.
Meralco will face PLDT on April 26 while Army has Baguio on April 21.
Army (3) – Daquis 16, Manabat 13, Salak 9, Tubino 9, Bautista 8, Gonzaga 8, Bunag 6, Balse 5, Aganon 2, Gonzales 0, Torres (L), Agno (L)
Meralco (1) – Maraño 12, Mercado 12, Morada 9, Guevara 6, Cayetano 5, Cruz 4, Legacion 3, Tiu 1, Hingpit 1, Hernandez 0, Angustia 0, Reyes (L)