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Maraño leads Meralco past winless Coast Guard

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In a match that had no bearing on the overall standings, the Meralco Power Spikers made short work of the Coast Guard Lady Dolphins, finishing their season off in straight sets 25-20, 25-20, 25-20 in the final preliminary match of the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference at the FilOil Flying-V Arena, Tuesday afternoon.

La Salle product, Aby Maraño spearheaded the Meralco attack as her quick hits and running attempts had the Coast Guard defense baffled. The former UAAP MVP finished with 17 points off 11 for 24 attacking, two blocks, and an ace. Maraño’s fellow La Sallians Paneng Mercado and Cha Cruz paced the Meralco offense with seven and eight points respectively. Adamson alum, Faye Guvera had six points in just two sets of action while Atenean Fille Cainglet-Cayetano pitched in five markers in just a set and a half of play.

The Lady Dolphins were in contention early in each of the three sets, trailing 15-16 midway through all sets. Meralco just had more offensive options that the Coast Guard defense could not account for or counter, as Meralco out-attacked Coast Guard, 47-31. Coast Guard pulled a decent offensive performance from their team captain, Rossan Fajrdo who was the only Lady Dolphin who broke double digits, scoring with 11 points off 42 attack attempts.

Meralco was safely in the Top Four regardless of how they faired against the Lady Dolphins. The Power Spikers join the Cagayan Valley Lady Rising Suns, PLDT Home Ultera Ultra Fast Lady Hitters, and the Army Lady Troopers in the next phase of the competition.

The remaining four teams will duke it out in another Round Robin phase. The two teams with the best records will face each other in the Finals. Meralco will have their first match on Thursday against the Army Lady Troopers.

“Army ‘yung makakalaban namin sa Thursday. Kaya practice we are focusing on the blocking and the attacking of Army. Papalakasin namin ‘yung depensa namin para makuha yung first win sa semis,” Meralco head coach Brian Esquibel told us after the game.

Coach Esquibel is also relieved that the format for the Final Four is a round robin format. “Mas maganda ang chance namin kasi magkakachansa tayo sa semis. Back-to-zero kumbaga ang laro.” Moreover, with the PSL All Filipino Conference Finals ending, the players and the coaching staff of Meralco could focus more on the Power Spikers and the V-League Final Four.

The Scores

Meralco (3)– Maraño 17, Cruz 8, Mercado 7, Guevara 6, Cayetano 5, Angustia 4, Tiu 3, Morada 3, Hernandez 2, Legacion 1, Hingpit 1, Reyes (L)

Coast Guard (0) – Fajardo 11, Montero 7, Magsumbol 5, Rosale 5, Macabuhay 4, Yumul 3, Espelita 2, Valencia 0, Abrencia 0, Acepcion (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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