UST, Adamson to clash in PVL collegiate finals

The University of Santo Tomas (UST) Golden Tigresses and the Adamson University Lady Falcons are set to contend for the 2019 Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference title series after their respective semifinal victories today.

The Tigresses survived the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles in five sets, 20-25, 25-20, 25-16, 19-25, 16-14, earlier in Game Three of their semifinal clash.

National team player Eya Laure led the España squad to the finals with 21 points. Rookies Imee Hernandez and Janna Torres chipped in 14 each, while returning EJ Laure added 11 to complete the double-digit quarter for UST.

Meanwhile, rookie Faith Nisperos carried Ateneo in their losing effort with 23 points.

Adamson also emerged victorious over the College of Saint Benilde Lady Blazers in four sets, 25-18, 14-25, 25-17, 25-15, in the second do-or-die match earlier.

Trisha Genesis spearheaded the Lady Falcons anew with 20 points. Meanwhile, Lucille Almonte, Ceasa Pinar, and Grace Toring added 15, 13, and 12 respectively to complete the team’s quadruple double-digit scorers.

On the other hand, Gayle Pascual and Klarisa Abriam led the Lady Blazers with 10 points each.

UST and Adamson look to gain the upper hand over the other  as they start their best-of-three skirmish on Wednesday.

(Images from Facebook/ Sports Vision)

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Aby Maraño, PH spikers to zero in on silver medal finish in ASEAN GP second leg

Aby Maraño and the rest of the Philippine national team look to close in on a second place finish as they face Indonesia later on their last game of the 2019 ASEAN Grand Prix second leg. 

The tricolor squad can only reach so far after falling to Thailand in straight sets, 12-25, 16-25, 10-25, yesterday at the Sta. Rosa Sports Complex.

The nationals couldn’t get their game going against the ASEAN GP first leg gold medalists, struggling in both their net and floor defense and failing to pounce consistently on transition plays to drop their first loss of the second leg.

No player ended in double digits for the Philippines, with usual scoreboard leaders Mylene Paat and Ces Molina reduced to only seven and six points, respectively.

Their performance yesterday proved to be a huge contrast to their straight-set win against Vietnam last Friday, where they displayed their blocking prowess and offensive array to take the win.

With the loss, the nationals take a 1-1 win-loss slate and is up for a possible silver medal finish should they defeat Indonesia later.

Team captain Maraño said their loss against Thailand will serve as inspiration in order to clinch second place, which would be an improvement from their bronze medal finish in the first leg of the tournament.

“Itong nangyari sa amin against Thailand, magiging motivation ‘to. Kung nagkaroon nga tayo ng chance na magka-bronze, ibig sabihin, posible din pala na makakuha tayo ng mas mataas pa dun,” the team captain said.

Maraño is optimistic of a better finish this time around with the return of teammates Alyssa Valdez, Jia Morado, Jovelyn Gonzaga, and Maddie Madayag from their club team commitments.

The nationals are expected to prepare for the closing game as they also seek to exact vengeance on Indonesia who defeated them in five sets in the first leg.

“Kumpleto po kami–pagaaralan namin [nang] mabuti kung ano ‘yung mga strategy at game plan na magagamit namin para maging effective sa game,” Maraño ended.

 

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Playing against Thailand a learning experience for Jasmin Nabor

Debuting as the Philippines’ main setter earlier proved to be a huge task for Jasmin Nabor, only more difficult as they faced the ever dominant Thailand squad.

With main setter Jia Morado out of the picture earlier due to her club team commitments, Nabor had big shoes to fill as she tried to outplay the reigning Southeast Asian volleyball queens.

And while the Philippine national team ultimately bowed down to Thailand in straight sets, the lefty playmaker chose to look at their defeat in a positive note.

“Para sa akin, sobrang laking tulong sa akin ng game kanina. Ang dami kong natutunan,” Nabor said.

The tricolor squad surrendered to Thailand in straight sets, 12-25, 16-25, 10-25, earlier in the second leg of the 2019 ASEAN Grand Prix at the Sta. Rosa Sports Complex.

The defending 11-peat Southeast Asian Games champions still proved to be too strong for the Philippine team who suffered from their reception woes and failed to get their net defense going.

No player finished in double digits for the Philippines, with usual scoring leaders Mylene Paat and Ces Molina reduced to only seven and six points respectively.

With the tricolor squad’s floor defense problems doubled by familiarity issues, Nabor got outplayed by Thailand’s senior playmaker Pornpun Guedpard and second setter Gullapa Piampomgsan, 13 excellent sets to 22.

The Philippine setter expressed gratitude on playing against an experienced setter like Pornpun, saying she still has a lot to learn after seeing the Thai setter play.

“Sobrang nakaka-amaze kasi sobrang hasa na siya, tapos kilalang-kilala na niya ‘yung teammates [niya] so iyon ‘yung kailangan kong matutunan,” Nabor said.

The nationals struggled to repeat their dominant showing against Vietnam yesterday with key players Morado, Alyssa Valdez, Maddie Madayag, and Jovelyn Gonzaga missing action in earlier’s game. Nabor and PLDT Home Fibr teammate Gretchel Soltones stepped up in today’s game.

While the Philippines fell to their first loss of the second leg with Nabor orchestrating the offense, the lefty sitter accepted the defeat in stride and took the game as a learning experience.

“Kailangan ko pang mag-aral nang mag-aral, mag-training nang mag-training at pag-aralan ‘yung mga play ng kakampi ko,” Nabor ended.

The tricolor squad looks to end the second leg with a silver medal as finish as they face Indonesia on tomorrow’s closing game.

Thailand still too strong for PH spikers, says Shaq Delos Santos

Expect no less from the long-reigning Southeast Asian volleyball queens.

This was what Philippines head coach Shaq Delos Santos acknowledged after the national team bowed to Thailand in straight sets, 12-25, 16-25, 10-25, earlier in the second leg of the 2019 ASEAN Grand Prix at the Sta. Rosa Sports Complex.

The tricolor squad still couldn’t find a way to solve the Thailand puzzle as the head coach admitted he expected the best from the 11-peat defending Southeast Asian Games champions.

“Unang-una, alam namin kung anong klaseng team ang Thailand, so kami, ang best thing na magagawa namin para sa game, gagawin namin,” Delos Santos said.

The nationals failed to make a strong case against the ASEAN GP first leg gold medalists, struggling to get both their net and floor defense going and emerging on the losing end of long rallies to drop their first loss of the second leg.

The game proved to be a huge contrast to their straight-set win over Vietnam yesterday, where they displayed their blocking prowess and stepped up on transition plays to take the win.

No player finished in double digits for the Philippines, with usual scoring leaders Mylene Paat and Ces Molina reduced to only seven and six points respectively.

Delos Santos recognized Thailand’s strength that exposed his team’s lack of preparation, saying they did the best they could with their circumstance.

Despite the loss, the head coach still looked at their loss with a silver lining, choosing to recognize points for improvement in order to progress accordingly.

“Of course, nasa process pa rin kami ng team and hindi siya madaling gawin kasi hindi kami ‘yung team na matagal nang binuo, at medyo kulang din sa time, so ‘yung continuation na lang ng team namin para mas maging maganda ‘yung takbo ng team,” Delos Santos said.

 

“For us, alam namin kung ano ‘yung possible na mangyari at kung ano pa ‘yung pwede naming i-improve. Sabi ko nga sa team, kailangan ang tignan natin ay ‘yung performance–papaano tayo gagalaw nang maayos hangga’t kaya natin,” the head coach added.

Adding to their struggle earlier was the absence of key players Alyssa Valdez, Jia Morado, Jovelyn Gonzaga, and Maddie Madayag, who were all in Iloilo for their club team commitments. Setter Jasmin Nabor and open spiker Grethcel Soltones starred today for the nationals.

Delos Santos commended Soltones and Nabor for stepping up in today’s game, noting their prior experience with the tricolor squad in the 2018 Asian Women’s Volleyball Cup that helped them adjust despite being called up late to the national team.

“Nakasama na rin naman namin sila sa Thailand–alam na rin nila ‘yung galawan ng team. Pero siyempre hindi pa rin kami ganoong ka-consistent kasi siyempre iba talaga ‘yung galaw ng Thailand,” the head coach said.

With the four Premier Volleyball League players returning in time for tomorrow’s game against Indonesia and a possible silver medal finish in the second leg, Delos Santos looks to prepare accordingly as they hope for a better finish this time around.

“Siguro magre-review muna kami sa Indonesia; at the same time, hopefully makabalik nang maayos ‘yung ibang players namin by tomorrow, and paghahandaan namin. Yun na lang muna,” the head coach ended.

With big shoes to fill, Nabor out to prove herself as starting setter vs Thailand

It was right before September ended that Jasmin Nabor learned she was being called up to don the tricolors. For her, the answer was sure and instant.

“Nung Monday lang sinabi na kasama kami sa national team. Siguro parang in one snap, ‘ay maglalaro ako’,” Nabor said.

The current PLDT Home Fibr setter joins teammate Grethcel Soltones as last-minute additions to the Philippine national team competing in the second leg of the 2019 ASEAN Grand Prix, with the absence of newcomers Kalei Mau and Alohi Robins-Hardy after the first leg.

Nabor isn’t new to the tricolor squad, suiting up as second setter for the country in the 2018 Asian Women’s Volleyball Cup in Thailand.

However, pressure is different this time around as main setter Jia Morado will miss action in their game later against Thailand, making her the primary playmaker today.

Despite expectations, the lefty setter said she is nervous but excited to orchestrate the Philippines’ offense especially up against the long-reigning Southeast Asian team.

“‘Yung nafe-feel ko, excited na kinakabahan kasi syempre first time kong magiging first setter para i-represent ‘yung bansa natin, tapos siyempre Thailand pa iyon,” Nabor said.

The nationals look to snatch their second win of the second leg after overpowering Vietnam yesterday in straight sets, 25-21, 25-23, 25-21.

After their 1-2 finish in the first leg of the tournament, the Philippine national team is not only out for a better ending this time around, but to finally solve the Thailand puzzle.

Nabor already got the feel of the competition as a substitute setter in yesterday’s game against Vietnam, making plays for her teammates who she only trained with for a short time.

With stakes high in today’s game, the lefty setter said she got words of encouragement yesterday from Morado, who she considers her idol.

“Nilapitan niya ako agad na kaya ko daw iyan, [na] ipakita ko daw ‘yung galing ko. Nakikinig lang ako palagi sa kanya–nanghihingi ako ng instructions every training, [na] kausapin ko lang palagi ‘yung teammates ko kasi syempre ‘yung connection, wala pa,” Nabor said.

National team head coach Shaq Delos Santos also put his trust on Nabor, reminding her to keep a sound mind and play her game despite the pressure.

“Alam naman niya ‘yung magiging commitment niya, so mindset and preparation lang. I think excited din siya maglaro and alam naman natin ang quality niya kasi future siya e–bata pa pero alam namin ‘yung future [niya] na maganda ang mararating,” the head coach said.

Morado, together with Creamline teammate Alyssa Valdez and Premier Volleyball League players Maddie Madayag and Jovelyn Gonzaga, will miss later’s game due to their club team commitments.

Nabor seeks to achieve success with mainstays Aby Maraño, Majoy Baron, Mylene Paat, Ces Molina, and Dawn Macandili against the Thais later at the Sta. Rosa Sports Complex.

Majoy Baron takes page from Aby Maraño’s playbook as PH routs Vietnam in ASEAN GP opener

Middle blocker Majoy Baron delivered for the Philippine national team anew as she showed her dominating presence over Vietnam in their opening win of the 2019 ASEAN Grand Prix second leg earlier.

But while she has chipped in consistent numbers for the national team in the inaugural tournament, Baron made waves as she scored a point at the latter part of the game that left the home crowd roaring.

In the 19-17 mark of the third set, Baron sneaked in a drop shot and took a little look at Vietnam’s libero, leaving the audience in a frenzy.

The point gave the Philippine national team momentum to take the opening game over Vietnam in straight sets, 25-21, 25-23, 25-21, earlier in the second leg of the ASEAN Grand Prix at the Sta. Rosa Sports Complex.

In a post-game interview, the first leg Best Blocker admitted she got excited after the play, saying she saw the point coming due to active observation of Vietnam’s defense.

“Actually, naisip ko siya before ko siya gagawin. Parang feeling ko makakapuntos ako na ida-drop ko sa gilid kasi nakita ko ‘yung libero, hindi siya nakasaksak doon sa area so parang nagawa ko siya. Tuwang-tuwa ako kasi naisip ko siyang gawin before hand,” she said.

Baron added she got the move from team captain Aby Maraño, who she saw jumping in joy after scoring the point.

“Nakita ko si Tyang, nagce-celebrate sa labas. Naisip ko na: ‘Shocks, parang signature ni Tyang ‘yun ah!’ Kaya natawa lang din ako. Parang proud mama si Tyang,” Baron said.

Alyssa Valdez led the Philippines in her Grand Prix debut with 14 points, while Mylene Paat and Ces Molina added 13 each. Meanwhile, Baron and Maraño added nine and six respectively.

The tricolor squad played prepared as they stepped up their net defense against Vietnam, scoring nine against two while also upping their floor defense to stop their opponents’ usual offensive onslaught.

“Pinaghandaan talaga namin ‘yung Vietnam. May mga strategy kaming ginawa, pinanood namin ‘yung mga games namin sa leg one so mas nakita namin ‘yung mga kailangan,” Baron said.

The middle blocker added she felt no pressure in her game earlier, with head coach Shaq Delos Santos reminding her to enter the game with a clean slate and remove distractions.

“Actually before ng game na ito, wala akong inisip, as in totally blank. Sabi nga ni Coach Shaq, wag ma-pressure, wag mag-isip ng kung anu-ano, and parang naisip ko na: ‘Oo, nga ano, ang gaan-gaan ng feeling ko dito sa laro,'” Baron said.

The Philippine national team looks to clinch its second straight win as they go up against Thailand tomorrow.

PH team inspired to play in front of home crowd, says Aby Maraño

For Aby Maraño, nothing compares to playing in front of the people they work hard to represent.

With their 1-2 finish in the first leg of the 2019 ASEAN Grand Prix, Maraño and the national team started on a high note in the second leg of the tournament as they found inspiration in the unwavering, roaring support of their home country.

“Nakaka-add ng energy kapag nakikita mong nagche-cheer e. Ang daming sumuporta,” the middle blocker said.

The Philippine national team snatched its first win after overpowering Vietnam in straight sets, 25-21, 25-23, 25-21, earlier in the second leg of the Grand Prix at the Sta. Rosa Sports Complex.

The nationals looked poised all throughout the game, wreaking havoc in the attack zone and displaying their blocking prowess to take the opening game and also clinch their first straight-set win over Vietnam in recent years.

Alyssa Valdez caught fire in her Grand Prix debut as she led the Philippines with 14 points, while Mylene Paat and Ces Molina added 13 each.

Maraño and Majoy Baron manned the middle for the nationals with adequate showing, scoring six and nine points to help their wing spikers.

The Philippine team captain commended her squad for their solid showing earlier, coming together despite conflicting schedules and stepping up their game to give glory to the country.

“Sa tingin ko, buo ‘yung team namin kanina na maglaro at ibigay ‘yung sarili para sa bayan. Nagsakripisyo kami–bagamat maraming ginagawa aside sa national team schedule, nagtipon-tipon kami para mapanalo namin itong game na ‘to para sa bansa,” Maraño said.

She said the tricolor squad found encouragement in their countrymen’s resolute show of pride earlier, saying the support helped their confidence and motivated them to do their best.

“Sobrang sarap sa pakiramdam–hindi ka kinakabahan, gusto mo lang ilabas ‘yung kaya mong gawin para makita ng mga kapwa Pilipino at maging proud sila sa’yo,” Maraño said.

The Philippines showed mastery over Vietnam who they also defeated in five sets in the first leg, stepping up their offense and playmaking with Kalei Mau and Alohi Robins-Hardy missing action.

The tricolor squad also displayed their blocking prowess as they scored nine to two against their opponents, while also capitalizing on the absence of Vietnam’s scoring ace Tran Thị Thanh Thúy.

On a personal note, Maraño expressed satisfaction in her performance earlier, crediting her chemistry with setter Jia Morado in her attacking efficiency against Vietnam.

“Definitely ngayon, natutuwa ako kasi naging effective yung chemistry namin ni Jia Morado. Actually masasabi ko na 80 percent na binigay niya sa akin, napatay ko yung bola, kaya nagpapasalamat ako na naging maganda ‘yung result ng tandem namin kanina,” she said.

With Valdez, Morado, and the other Premier Volleyball League players missing the action in tomorrow’s game against Thailand, it is up to Maraño and the rest of the tricolor squad to do their best in extending their dominance in the tournament.

While she knows their odds against the Thais who are known for their low-fast plays and scrappy defense, the team captain said the Philippines needs to improve their floor defense if they want to increase their chances tomorrow.

“Adjustments-wise, pagtitibayan namin ‘yung depensa namin. We know how Thailand plays–talagang magaling sa opensa at sa depensa–pero kung sisipagan namin sa ilalim, baka may tsansa kami,” Maraño ended.

Alyssa Valdez grateful for national team return in front of home crowd: ‘I’m really happy to contribute’

Acquiring her first major injury caused Alyssa Valdez to miss the first leg of the 2019 ASEAN Grand Prix, the only time so far in her career that she failed to suit up for the national team since being called up.

After the Philippines’ 1-2 finish in the first leg, Valdez and the tricolor squad promised to do what it takes to achieve glory in front of their home crowd who showed all-out support earlier.

“It’s always nice to play here in your hometown. I think it added energy and motivation–lalo na nung third set, ‘yung energy namin siyempre pagod na rin, but when we hear the crowd really cheering–maka-point, hindi maka-point–iba rin talaga ‘yung nagagawa niya sa morale din naming manglalaro,” Valdez said.

The Philippine national team clinched its first win after dismantling Vietnam in straight sets, 25-21, 25-23, 25-21, earlier in the second leg of the 2019 ASEAN Grand Prix at the Sta. Rosa Sports Complex.

The nationals were on point all throughout the game, firing from the offensive end and showing their improved net defense to take the opening game of the tournament and also their first straight-set win over Vietnam in recent years.

Valdez caught fire in her Grand Prix debut as she led the Philippines with 14 points, while Mylene Paat and Ces Molina added 13 each.

The Creamline team captain expressed her gratitude in playing again for the national team, commending her teammates for stepping up and displaying stronger chemistry this time around.

“First game back after ilang days na hindi ako nakapag-training with the team–I think everyone really stepped up kasi nag-jell na talaga as a team. I’m really happy na nakaka-contribute din ako to the best of my abilities,” Valdez said.

The Philippines showed their blocking prowess as they scored nine to two against Vietnam, while also pouncing on the absence of Vietnam’s scoring ace Tran Thị Thanh Thúy.

Valdez praised both their improved net defense and the playmaking of Jia Morado, who efficiently scattered the plays at the guidance of head coach Shaq Delos Santos.

“On paper, makikita natin na wala ‘yung main spiker nila–sa atin naman, wala si Kalei and Alohi. I think maganda lang talaga ‘yung laban–everyone stepped up and napag-aralan naman ng coaches kung ano ‘yung mga plays na gagawin nila,” Valdez said.

 

“Alam mo na total team effort kasi napakagaling ng playmaker natin; blocking natin, napakaganda rin today. Hopefully, magtuloy-tuloy,” she added.

The open spiker will miss tomorrow’s game against Thailand together with Jia Morado, Jovelyn Gonzaga, and Maddie Madayag as they play for their respective club teams in the Premier Volleyball League.

While she will miss tomorrow’s action against the Southeast Asian giant, Valdez puts her unwavering belief in the national team, knowing they will give their best not to let the country down.

“May mga prior commitments din tayo na naka-set din talaga, but we’re really praying for the rest of the team na siyempre alam naman natin na magse-step up, at alam natin ‘yung mga strategies na gagawin ni Coach Shaq and ‘yung coaching staff going to the game against Thailand,” Valdez said.

Valdez and the other PVL players will return for the national team on Sunday as they face Indonesia on their last game of the second leg.

Petro Gazz burns Chef’s Classics in straight sets, takes eighth win

The Petro Gazz Angels look to seal their Final Four slot after dismantling the Chef’s Classics Lady Red Spikers in straight sets, 25-21, 25-14, 25-12, earlier in the 2019 Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center.

After a slow start in the early stages of the opening set, the Angels climbed right back and went to display their usual low-fast game to take the first salvo and the succeeding sets, clinching their seventh consecutive victory of the tournament

Petro Gazz displayed a solid all-around game with their offensive and defensive showing on point, leading on all scoring departments and refusing to give the Lady Red Spikers a single ace while recording eight service points.

Jonah Sabete led Petro Gazz anew with 12 points, while Jovy Prado and Cherry Nunag added 10 each.

With the win, the Angels solidified their hold on second place with an 8-2 record, while Chef’s Classics remain winless with a 0-14 slate.

Petro Gazz looks to clinch their ninth win of the tournament as they face the Pacifictown Army Lady Troopers on Saturday.

Bang Pineda embraces libero role for Choco Mucho: “Kung ano ‘yung binigay sa’yo, paghirapan mo”

After a measly 2-6 finish in the first round, the Choco Mucho Flying Titans realized the urgency to make adjustments in their system in order to address both their offensive and defensive shortcomings.

When Bang Pineda made the transition from an open spiker to the team’s defensive ace, it seemed like a gamble for head coach Oliver Almadro as he looked to resuscitate his team’s Final Four chances. With Pineda and Kim Gequillana exchanging roles, all the team had to do was wait and see the results.

Now they can say the gamble has paid off.

The Choco Mucho Flying Titans are making a strong case for a semifinal slot after outlasting Motolite in four sets, 19-25, 25-21, 25-15, 28-26, earlier in the 2019 Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center.

After a slow start in the opening set, the Flying Titans soared in the succeeding sets with everyone getting involved in the winning effort, refusing to let Motolite get the best of them anew.

Kat Tolentino led the onslaught for Choco Mucho with 27 points, while Maddie Madayag and Shannen Palec added 15 and 13 respectively.

While the spikers have stolen the headline for the Flying Titans in their four-game winning streak, Pineda has proven to be the team’s unsung hero as she continues to deliver double-double defensive performances, doing it anew as she recorded 33 excellent digs and 21 excellent receives.

Her excellence didn’t go unnoticed by volleyball fans as she trended on Twitter, with fans commending her consistent defensive showing for Choco Mucho.

The 5-foot-6 player has fully embraced her libero role for Choco Mucho, thanking their coaching staff for recognizing where she can heavily contribute for the squad.

“Sabi nga ni coach, kailangan kung ano ‘yung binigay sa’yo, paghirapan mo. Kung hindi mo iyan posisyon at doon ka nilagay, for sure nakikita ng coaches na doon ka makaka-help, kasi hindi naman ibibigay sa’yo iyon kung hindi ka makakatulong din,” she said.

The libero position isn’t new for Pineda, who also played the role for the Petron Blaze Spikers and the United Volleyball Club in the Philippine Superliga.

Meanwhile, Almadro praised both Pineda’s playing versatility and resolve to step up for the Flying Titans knowing the team’s dire need to improve its semifinal chances.

“Sobrang big decision namin ni Bang iyon. Matagal na kaming magkakakilala ni Bang—sabi niya nga, ‘Coach, bahala ka kung saan mo ako gagamitin.’ Ganoon si Bang, sobrang versatile na kahit saan mo ilagay, tatrabahuhin niya iyan,” Almadro said.

 

“Lahat ng mga bola, sinugod niya—kahit saan pumatak yung bola, nandoon siya. And she has acknowledged it. Noong una, hindi niya makuha system ko, but now she’s acknowledging it,” the head coach added.

While she got praises from her head coach for her consistent performance in the defensive end, Pineda was nothing short of being self-aware as she admitted her own faults in Choco Mucho’s opening set loss against Motolite earlier.

“Na-ace-an ako, hindi ko mabasa ‘yung palo, so sa first set ako talaga ‘yung mali doon—hindi pa ako nagigising e,” Pineda said.

 

“Nung nilagay na si Dancel sa bench, papalitan na ako, doon na ako nagising na kailangan kong trabahuhin kasi hindi naman kami makakaatake kung walang first ball o walang dig,” she added.

Almadro commended his libero for owning up to her lapses, adding how important it is for athletes to recognize where they went wrong and correcting themselves afterward.

“What’s important for a player is to acknowledge their mistakes and reassure they can do it. It may not be as smooth as possible, but the important part for her is acknowledging it,” the head coach said.

Pineda and the Flying Titans look to clinch their seventh win of the tournament as they face the undefeated Creamline Cool Smashers on Saturday.

Choco Mucho outlives Motolite in four sets, pockets fourth straight win

The Choco Mucho Flying Titans make a strong case for the Final Four after dismantling Motolite in four sets, 19-25, 25-21, 25-15, 28-26, earlier in the 2019 Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center.

Facing their first-round tormentors, the Flying Titans made sure to emerge victorious over Motolite the second time around as they bounced back from their opening set loss to take the game and extend their winning streak to four.

Kat Tolentino spearheaded Choco Mucho’s onslaught anew as she registered 27 points, while middle blockers Maddie Madayag and Shannen Palec added 15 and 13 respectively.

Libero Bang Pineda also carried the Flying Titans’ floor defense, recording a double-double performance of 33 excellent digs and 21 excellent receives.

With the win, Choco Mucho soars higher in the team standings with a 6-6 record, closing the gap between other squads also vying for the Final Four. Motolite, meanwhile, takes a 7-5 standing.

Head coach Oliver Almadro praised his players for their performance earlier as he reminded his squad to learn from their stretched games in the first round and achieve success this time around.

“Sabi ko naman sa kanila, walang imposible, but they have to give it to themselves. Kasi lahat ng games namin, five sets, pero binibigay namin sa kalaban, so it’s about time to give it to yourselves,” Almadro said.

He further praised his squad for working hard in improving their win-loss record, going into the second round with a low 2-6 slate and revamping their performance to snatch a semifinal finish.

“I’m proud of my players just because they took joy and peace in their hearts going into this game. They’re working hard on the practices, sacrificing a lot, and committed their lives for this,” Almadro said.

The Flying Titans look to clinch their seventh win of the tournament as they face the undefeated Creamline Cool Smashers on Saturday.

(Photo credits to Sports Vision)

Alyssa Valdez admits comeback jitters after foot injury: ‘First time kong kabahan sa buong career ko’

Alyssa Valdez has played in numerous do-or-die games and championship series, but nothing has ever made her more anxious than playing for the first time since a major injury.

Finally seeing limited action for the Creamline Cool Smashers earlier in their game against the Philippine Air Force Lady Jet Spikers, Valdez admitted having jitters stepping into the court after sustaining a foot injury two weeks ago.

“First time ko talagang kabahan sa buong career ko–more than kinabahan, kasi hindi pa ako nagvo-volleyball. Iba pala talaga ang kaba kapag may first ever major injury ka ring nakuha,” Valdez said.

Valdez and the Cool Smashers showed dominance anew as they dismantled the Lady Jet Spikers in straight sets, 25-15, 25-16, 25-18, earlier in the 2019 Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center.

Creamline displayed an all-around game earlier against Air Force, doubling up on their spiking and service game to help them clinch their eleventh win and remain untainted in the tournament.

Jema Galanza and Michele Gumabao finished as the Cool Smashers’ scoring duo, registering 21 and 15 points, respectively.

While Valdez failed to chip in a single point due to playing limited time for the reigning Open Conference champions, she said she was thankful for finally returning to the court anew, having done therapy for the past two weeks.

“This is the first ever time to hold again a volleyball kasi I’ve been doing therapy din for the past two weeks. I was really happy na nandoon ‘yung teammates ko to support me,” the Creamline team captain said.

The foot injury, which she sustained in one of their practice sessions, caused her to miss the national team’s 2019 ASEAN Grand Prix stint in Thailand and two games for the Cool Smashers.

Valdez hopes to fully bounce back and return to full form in order to fulfill her commitments to her club and the tricolor squad.

“The doctor says to ask for MRI kasi hindi nawawala ‘yung swelling, pero I guess tolerable naman ‘yung pain. First time kong mawala nang two weeks in terms of volleyball condition—I think iyon ‘yung kailangan kong habulin,” Valdez said.

While on the road to recovery, Valdez expressed her appreciation of her Creamline teammates who have been stepping up in her absence.

“As a teammate, hindi namin hinihingi na 100 percent siya, because we know she is feeling pain. If she can give fifty, we can put up the other fifty for her,” Gumabao said.

The Cool Smashers look to clinch their twelfth straight win of the tournament as they face the Choco Mucho Flying Titans this Saturday in Iloilo.

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Winning attitude pivotal in Creamline’s undefeated slate, says Michele Gumabao

The 2019 Premier Volleyball League Open Conference has been kind to the Creamline Cool Smashers as they continue enjoying views from the top with their commanding performance.

For opposite spiker Michele Gumabao, playing with a winning attitude remains the most important key for their title campaign this conference.

“Ako kasi, when you enter the court, kailangan isipin mong panalo ka na e. Hindi ka pwedeng pumasok na nagdo-doubt o mahina loob,” Gumabao said.

The Cool Smashers keep getting rewarded for their all-around and systematic play as they are virtually unreachable right now with a perfect 11-0 record, dropping only two sets so far in the tournament.

With their training and intense preparation for every match, Gumabao said the defending Open Conference champions are getting confident as games go by.

“Sa hirap ng training namin at dami naming ginagawang preparation, nandoon ‘yung confidence and iyon naman ‘yung nire-remind sa amin lagi ni Coach Tai,” the opposite spiker said.

Creamline claimed its eleventh win after spoiling the Philippine Air Force Lady Jet Spikers in straight sets, 25-15, 25-16, 25-18, earlier at the Filoil Flying V Center.

The Cool Smashers ruled the game from the get-go, maintaining their offensive arsenal on fire with their spiking and service game ahead of the Lady Jet Spikers.

Jema Galanza and Gumabao provided the one-two punch for Creamline with 21 and 15 points, respectively.

Despite a strong hold of the top spot in the team standings, the Cool Smashers refused to be complacent and instead treated their game earlier like any other match they’ve played this conference.

“It all boils down to preparation. Hindi naman kasi ‘yung type na nagre-rely sa standings–each and every game, sino mang katapat namin, same galaw, same preparation, same effort from our end,” Gumabao said.

This is the ninth straight-set win for Creamline as they dropped only two sets all throughout the conference, one each against the Banko Perlas Spikers and the Choco Mucho Flying Titans.

While their dominance has put them comfortably ahead of the competition, Gumabao said the team still has to work on their consistency and maintaining their positive attitude all throughout the game.

“There are times na bumabagsak ‘yung mood or nawawala ‘yung intensity or fire namin sa loob, but nadadala naman ng coaching staff namin,” she said.

 

“Kung nakita niyo si Coach Tai niya, sobrang ingay niya kasi binoboost niya kami and doon din kami kumukuha ng lakas,” the opposite spiker added.

Creamline looks to take their twelfth victory as they face the Flying Titans this Saturday in Iloilo.

(Photo credits to Sports Vision)

 

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Oliver Almadro commends Choco Mucho’s stronger character: ‘We learned to end it right’

It seemed like the Choco Mucho Flying Titans had a lot to learn after their first round meltdown against their earlier rivals.

With victories important more than ever given the tough race to the semifinals, head coach Oliver Almadro knew what his squad needed to do against the Pacifictown Army Lady Troopers—a team they led two sets to none in the first round, until their collapse in the next three sets to drop the game.

“Natutunan namin to end it right—no matter what, kailangan naming magtiyaga. Hindi kami pwedeng mawalan ng trust sa isa’t isa e—kagaya kanina, the players come and go pero kailangan mo silang bigyan ng right motivation and direction,” Almadro said.

The Flying Titans staged a three-game winning streak after surviving the Lady Troopers in five sets, 25-20, 17-25, 21-25, 25-11, 15-8, earlier in the 2019 Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center.

Facing a 2-1 disadvantage this time around, Choco Mucho showed character as they minimized their lapses and displayed stronger performances in the fourth and fifth sets, pouncing on Army’s numerous errors to take the game.

Kat Tolentino led the Flying Titans anew with 24 points, while Maddie Madayag added 14.

While only two players finished in double digits for Choco Mucho, two-fifths of their final score came from Army’s 42 errors.

Almadro commended his players for keeping up with a newly-formed system and acknowledging their individual shortcomings, knowing they have to double up on their game more than ever with the tight competition for Final Four tickets.

“It’s really hard to cope up with a system in one to two months. We’ve been practicing it hard—luckily, nakakasunod na. What I admire about my players is that they really work hard and try to make it up sa mga kakulangan nila,” the head coach said.

The Flying Titans dominated in the fourth set of the game with Tolentino leading their early 8-2 advantage, even extending their lead from ten to fourteen points at the latter part to force a decider.

Ultimately, it was Choco Mucho who got the better odds with Pacifictown Army giving away seven errors in the fifth set to make things easier for their opponents.

Almadro noted his team’s character in extended games, adding he doesn’t want to see anymore meltdowns in these situations knowing their ugly first round record in five-setter games.

“Nung first round, lahat ng five sets namin, kami ‘yung dehado and at the wrong end e. Sa mga games na ganito, ang kailangan namin is to mature right away.” Almadro said.

With the win, Choco Mucho advances in the team standings with a 5-6 record, while the Lady Troopers settle for a 6-5 slate.

The Flying Titans look to improve their semifinal odds as they face Motolite on Wednesday.

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