University of Tsukuba proved too much for the undermanned Philippine Women’s National Volleyball team as the visiting team reigned supreme over the host country, 25-13, 25-21, 25-19, to capture the inaugural PSL Super Cup title on Friday night.
Facing off against the Nationals who were without prolific scorers Kalei Mau and Alyssa Valdez as well as savvy playmaker Jia Morado, the Japanese came out firing as they overwhelmed the Filipinas in front of their home crowd at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Still, the Philippine contingents put up a gallant stand.
Reeling from a beatdown in the opening set, the tricolor squad rejigged its rotation. Eya Laure and Maddie Madayag delivered the spark off the bench as the upstarts provided their team an elusive cushion at 8-3.
But the visiting team whittled away the deficit and forged a seesaw battle midway through the set. The Japanese then wrested the lead following consecutive hits from Kyomi Hayakawa, 21-20, before errors spelled disaster for the Philippines and Miku Taniuchi snatched away the frame.
The Philippine contingents tried to resuscitate life into its comeback bid in the decisive third frame. But the reigning titleholder of the All Japan Intercollegiate Volleyball Championship went for the jugular as it sprinted to a 23-19 spread. Kurumi Takama — who finished with eight markers — then towered over the opposition, putting up the finishing touches.
Marina Takahashi poured in nine spikes and four kill blocks en route to a game-high 13 points, leading 10 Japanese spikers in scoring.
“[Philippine] volleyball is good on offense but our team is especially lucky today,” said University of Tsukuba coach Nakanishi Yasumi.
On the other hand, Philippine head coach Shaq Delos Santos charged the loss to experience.
“Good thing na nadi-discover pa namin ‘yung mga pagkukulang namin,” Delos Santos said.
Team captain Aby Maraño topped the Nationals with seven points, while wunderkind Eya Laure supplied six points and 10 excellent digs. Ces Molina, Mylene Paat, Majoy Baron, and Roselyn Doria chimed in four points each.