RC Cola-Army A’s Jovelyn Gonzaga and Nene Bautista defeated Foton’s Cherry Rondina and Patty Orendain in a tightly contested match, 21-18, 18-21, 15-13 to reign supreme in the 2016 PSL Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup women’s final Sunday at the Sands SM By The Bay in Manila.
Down 10-7 in the third set, Army rallied back behind powerful hits by Gonzaga. Errors from Foton knotted the count at 12 apiece, before Army took the 13-12 lead after Orendain failed to send her cut shot across the net.
But Rondina tied the set at 13 apiece after scoring off the block, but Gonzaga’s spike pushed Army at championship point. Another error by Foton gave Army the title. Army finished the tournament with an undefeated record.
The championship is the first major beach volleyball crown for the multi-titled indoor veterans Bautista and Gonzaga.
“Parang nakakapanibago. Kasi ilang taon na rin kami hindi naglalaro,” Bautista said. “Pero malaking bagay na nag-partner na kami dati; alam namin yung kakayanan ng isa’t isa.”
Foton targeted Bautista with sharp services in the first set, but the strategy backfired as Bautista made Foton pay with powerful spikes. A Bautista hit made it 19-15 for Army in the opening set, but an error by Gonzaga followed by a hit from Rondina made it 19-17.
Bautista then pushed Army at set point, even as Gonzaga scored the point which enabled Army to take the first set, 21-18.
Teams went back and forth as well in the second set, but back to back spikes by Orendain broke a 17-all deadlock and gave Foton a 19-17 edge. Orendain and Rondina each scored after that to equalize, 21-18.
“Sobrang gaan, walang excess baggage, walang mabigat, kasi alam mong andyan siya, susuportahan ka maski nagkakamali ka,” Gonzaga said.
“Kahit nagkaka-errors na ako, never niya ako binlame. Siguro yun ang maganda sa team-up namin. Kilala na namin yung isa’t isa, alam na namin paano i-motivate yung isa’t isa.”
FEU cops 3rd place
In the battle for third place, FEU’s Kyla Atienza and Bernadeth Pons defeated Petron XCS’ Bang Pineda and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, 21-12, 21-13 to secure the bronze medal.
FEU broke loose in the first set, thanks to well-placed shots from Atienza which pushed the lead up to 11-7. Back to back hits by Pons followed by an ace doubled the lead, 16-8, as FEU cruised to take the opening set.
The duo then opened the second set on a 6-0 run to take control. Petron had a difficult time against FEU’s sharp services, as FEU pulled away to win.
Navy A cops men’s crown
In the men’s final, Philippine Navy A’s Nur-amin Madsairi and Roldan Medino fended off a brave challenge from the resilient TVM’s Kris Roy Guzman and Anthony Arbasto to capture the gold after a 21-13, 11-21, 18-16 win.
After Navy A easily took the first set, 21-13, TVM capitalized on errors and pulled away in the second set, 15-7. A spike by Guzman made it 20-11 before Madsairi’s attack sailed out, sending the match to extension.
Back to back hits by Arbasto gave TVM the upperhand in the third set, 11-10. Guzman pushed the lead up to 13-10 after back to back scores of his own, but Navy scored three straight to tie it at 13.
TVM then had chances to close the match out, going up 15-14. However, TVM committed a violation, which led to a spike from Madsairi as Navy took a 16-15 lead. Arbasto managed to tie the set at 16 apiece, but his service touched the antenna, giving Navy championship point. Madsairi ended the match with a powerful kill.