Mindanao pride, Jose Maria College Foundation (JMCF), pulled the rug from under NCAA bet Lyceum of the Philippines University with a stunning 24-26, 25-19, 25-22, 26-24 win to headline the second day of the Shakey’s Super League (SSL) National Invitationals on Sunday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
The Lady Royals dropped a narrow first set but dominated the next three frames, highlighted by Dianne Uriel Brion’s ace in the back-and-forth fourth set, resulting in a big triumph at the expense of the Lady Pirates, who finished runner-up in NCAA Season 98.
A bevy of protagonists rose to the occasion, led by Johma Mae Palermo with 18 points on 13 hits and five aces as JMCF climbed to 1-1 in Pool C after a 25-17, 25-11, 25-17 debut loss to Adamson.
Michaela Oliveros contributed 15 points laced with four blocks, while Brion produced 11 points for the Davao spikers in the historic win in the SSL, presented by Eurotel as the official hotel and Victory Liner as the office transport provider, and in cooperation with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
“Hindi kami nag-expect na manalo kasi malalakas yung kalaban dito mula sa UAAP at NCAA. Blessing sa amin na ito, nanalo versus a strong team from NCAA. First time namin dito at mula kahapon sa first game, naka-adjust naman. Lumabas ‘yung laro ng mga bata,” said coach Rolando Puno.
Licking the wounds of a straight-set defeat against the Lady Falcons, the Lady Royals waged a stronger fight as early as the first set by saving three set points from a 21-24 deficit only to lose by a whisker, 24-26.
But JMCF would not be denied from there on, dominating Lyceum in the next two sets before escaping in the clincher with a thriller of its own behind Oliveros’ single block and Brion’s ace for the win.
Johna Denise Dolorito and Janeth Tulang had 14 and 12 points, respectively, to pace the Lady Pirates in a shellacking defeat to fire off its campaign on a low note in the SSL, backed by Mikasa, Team Rebel Sports, Summit Bottled Water, Genius Sports, Potato Corner, Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken and Sauce Bar, and R&B Tea.
Later, NCAA champion College of St. Benilde debuted in style with a 25-20, 25-15, 25-18 win over Notre Dame of Dadiangas University (NDDU) from General Santos City.
Zamantha Nolasco scored 19 points on eight attacks, six blocks, and five aces as CSB tied Enderun Colleges for Pool D leadership with similar 1-0 slates.
Clydel Catarig and Corrine Apostol provided 11 and nine points, respectively, as the Lady Blazers needed only 68 minutes to notch the straight-sets victory.
“Masaya for our first win. Maganda ‘yung ganto na parang selection na rin. Qualifiers kumbaga kasi top ng liga nila, top ng liga namin. Masaya at maganda ‘yung ganitong competition,” said coach Jerry Yee.
Winnie Bedaña erupted for 20 points to lead four players in double digits as the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta bounced back against the debuting University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF), 23-25, 25-12, 25-20, 25-16.
Charmaine Mae Ocado and Shaila Allaine Omipon had 18 and 16 points, respectively, while NCAA MVP Mary Rhose Dapol threw in 15 points in a scattered attack for the Lady Altas, who improved to 1-1 in Pool A after a 25-11, 25-17, 25-12 loss to UAAP champion La Salle.
“Masaya kasi ito talaga ‘yung goal namin, makapanalo ng isa. Dito talaga kami umasa kasi ‘yung first game, mabigat. As of now, medyo suntok sa buwan pa ‘yun. Ang goal namin, makapunta muna sa second round then we’ll go from there,” said coach Sandy Rieta.
Ghanna Mae Suan and Mary Louise Querubin led USPF, the CESAFI runner-up, with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
In the fourth match, the University of Santo Tomas romped past CESAFI champion University of San Jose – Recoletos, 25-15, 25-16, 25-16, for a 1-0 record in Pool B.
Mary Margaret Banagua and Maria Cassandra Carballo had 12 and 11 points, respectively, while Angeline Poyos and Jonna Perdido added 10 points apiece for the rebuilding Golden Tigresses after the graduation of star players Eya Laure and Imee Hernandez.
“Actually, back-up lang kami sa NU na maglalaro nga sa national team, so happy kami na nabigyan ng chance makalaro dito sa SSL, especially mga rookies namin. Maganda naman at nanalo, so hopefully, sana sa next games tumaas pa ‘yung level ng laro namin,” said coach Kungfu Reyes.
Queenfaith Wahing had 18 points for NDDU, which bowed out of contention with a 0-2 record in Pool D after also a loss against Enderun.