Talk about noise! Talk about loud! Talk about fan frenzy! The ongoing Shakey’s V-league has it all! From on-court give-and-take sizzling drama to off-court fun-flavored fan exchanges. From animated sideline coaching sideshows to on-court innovative player adjustments. From brawn to brain to beauty and body. Yes, our Shakey’s V-league women’s volleyball has all these and more!
Based on the performance of the teams in the first half of the ongoing preliminary round of the Shakey’s Women’s Volleyball Open Conference, it would seem that three powerhouse companies plus one team from the uniformed services will be slugging it out come the second round.
The Cagayan Valley Rising Suns lead the way with an immaculate 4-0 slate. With the prolific spiking of Thai import Kannika Thipachot, plus veterans Angge Tabaquero, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and Thai setter Soraya Phomla providing steady support, the Rising Suns have cast a huge shadow over the rest of the field. Coach Nestor Pamilar’s wards have youth, power and great on-court communication and savvy backing up their campaign. On top of all that, they have demonstrated a maturity well beyond their youthful demeanor.
The 4-0 card doesn’t serve justice to the drama at ground-zero though. Their 3-set romp over the Meralco Power Spikers was a character win where they came from behind 20-22 on the first set, and 21-23 on the second set before short-circuiting Meralco’s power generators. It was the Suns’ defenses, with the diminutive Angelique Dionela providing the heroics, surviving the more fancied Power Spikers’ offensive barrage. Ditto with the 3-setter against Smart, where the result could have reversed just as easily.
Smart’s Net Spikers follow closely with a 3-1 card, their lone thorn being a loss to the Rising Suns. Again, the 3-set loss to the Cagayanos was an exciting thriller, with the Suns barely surviving the first set 25-23, and needing extended time to clinch the second 26-24. Smart fought hard with fangs bared. The Net Spikers were led by wily attacker Sue Roces, with Gretchel Sultones and Maru Banaticla supporting, and Melissa Gohing and Rubie De Leon anchoring the defensive barricades. Coach Roger Gorayeb still has an ace up his sleeve as his ace gunner Alyssa Valdez has not seen action yet. Expect the Net Spikers to put on their more aggressive game-faces in the next round.
Army has served notice their intention not to give up their prestigious position on top of the country’s women’s volleyball totem pole, with 2 quiet, yet emphatic wins over fellow uniformed service teams Navy and Air Force. Army’s veteran line-up composed of Mary Jean Balse, Joanne Bunag, Ers Iratay, Tina Salak, Dahlia Cruz, Sha Torres, sisters Michelle and Mayette Carolino combine with upcoming superstar Jovelyn Gonzaga, former college standouts Nerissa Bautista and Genie Sabas in a mighty show of force. And Coach Rico De Guzman has yet to unveil spike poster girl Rachel Daquis come the second round. With a beefed up line-up like that, Coach Rico can afford to shuffle his shock troopers right now. The question is: will the Army Lady Troopers be able to peak their frontliners in time for the wars ahead?
Meralco’s 2-2 card is quite misleading. Its losses to Cagayan and sister team Smart were hard-fought nail-biters that should warn future protagonists of the potential of this team. The Power Spikers have a giant Chinese beanpole in Coco Wang, who has not yet reached her true potential. With a line-up composed of veteran attackers Maureen Penetrante-Ouano, Fille Cainglet, Stephanie Mercado, plus defensive ace Jen Reyes, it’s just a matter of time before this team peaks and jells into a solid unforgiving squad. Coach Oliver Almadro needs to convince Wang to go for the power spikes more as opposed to her more favored dinks in order to sow terror on the opposite court. Expect this team to be in the thick of the action in the future smashfests to come.
The Air Force, Navy, PNP and FEU teams lack a player or two in order to be competitive. Still, there are diamonds in the rough being discovered as the tourney rolls on. Expect the teams from the uniformed services to beef up for future wars.
As the prelims reach the halfway point, four teams are jockeying for position. Cagayan combines youthful exuberance with maturity acquired from past and future battles. Majority of the Rising Suns are slated to join the Philippine Team that will see action in the Asian Volleyball Confederation Championship to be held in Bangkok this mid-September. Sister teams Smart and Meralco are expected to jell in time for the next round. Expect the level of play to move up a couple of notches as these teams peak and get to know each other better. The Army Lady Troopers will rely mostly on their vast experience in past successful campaigns. Plus the acquisition of new talents that will add more spunk to those power spikes. Who will win the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference? It will all depend on who is better prepared physically, and more psyched up mentally. Follow the games on GMA News.
For more on Philippine women’s volleyball, read on: https://cbholganzablog.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/watch-out-pba-move-over-azkals-the-volleybelles-are-coming/
(photos courtesy of philstar.com, vleague.ph, spin.ph, inquirer.net, interaksyon.com, )