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Cagayan gets leg up on Meralco in battle for third; escapes in three tight sets

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After a heartbreaking run in the Top Four phase of the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference, the Cagayan Valley Lady Rising Suns came one step close to salvaging a decent finish to their campaign after squeezing past the Meralco Power Spikers 25-23, 25-21, 25-23 earlier today at the FilOil Flying-V Arena in San Juan City.

Meralco held the lead late in each set but couldn’t get their offense in those crucial moments. The Power Spikers were ahead, 21-19, in the second frame before their service reception failed them, hampering their attacks. The Power Spikers found themselves in control as they were up 23-21 in the third set. After a timeout, Cagayan blasted through the ladies in white again with loaded serves that puzzled the Meralco back row. Cagayan won all of the last four points of the match and a 1-0 series lead.

Sabi ko sa kanila ipanalo na natin ‘to kasi sayang naman ‘yung placing namin saka patapos na naman ‘yung season. Maganda kung matapos namin ito (best-of-three) agad para makapag-focus naman kami sa iba naming mga commitment,” said Cagayan head coach Nes Pamilar.

With their team captain, Angge Tabaquero still out of the lineup, Cagayan received a boost from San Beda standout, Janine Marciano who topped the match in scoring with 17 points that came from beautiful finishes, combination plays, and heavy doses of open hits. Tabaquero’s UST teammate, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas continued her recent streak of consistent attacking, pacing the Cagayan offense with 16 markers while FEU’s Rosemarie Vargas pitched in 13 points.

Adamson’s Faye Guevara notched her season-high in scoring in today’s loss, as the former AdU team captain topped all Power Spikers with 14 markers. La Sallians, Aby Maraño, Cha Cruz, and Paneng Mercado produced below their scoring averages. Maraño was still a menace at the net but only had nine points, Peneng Mercado contributed seven points while Cha Cruz poured in six points in just two sets of action.

Meralco has yet to win a match against a fellow Top Four squad this season while Cagayan has only been able to beat Meralco in the Top Four.

The next match of the best-of-three comes this Thursday still at the FilOil Flying-V Arena at 9 a.m.

The Scores :

Cagayan (3) – Marciano 17, Pontillas 16, Vargas 13, Soriano 9, Meneses 6, Saet 3, Benito 0, Eulalio 0, Sy 0, Pineda (L)

Meralco (0) – Guevara 14, Maraño 9, Mercado 7, Cruz 6, Hernandez 5, Morada 4, Cayetano 3, Hingpit 2, Angustia 0, Reyes (L)

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Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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