PHILIPPINE Air Force defeated the shorthanded Cagayan Valley Bomberinas, 21-25, 25-19, 26-24, 25-18, on Saturday to claim the gold in the women’s volleyball competitions of the 2013 Philippine National Games at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
Joy Cases and her Air Force teammates took full advantage of the absence of Dindin and Jaja Santiago to surprise the Bomberinas, who are set to compete in a Southeast Asian zonal qualifier to the 2014 FIVB Women’s World Championships this month.
The Bomberinas missed the services of the Santiago siblings along with setter Rubie De Leon and Ivy Perez, who will be playing for National University in the Shakey’s V-League title on Sunday against Ateneo.
With the Bomberinas missing key players, Air Force, who also has players with V-League and UAAP experience, took advantage.
“National team sila, basta sabi ko sa mga players ko, laro lang, no pressure. Kung manalo, manalo. Malakas naman ang team nila pero sa amin napunta ’yung championship,” Air Force head coach Clarence Esteban said.
Cases forced an extension to the third before teaming up with Jennifer Manzano to end the set at 26-24.
Air Force’s victory proved to be a dampener for the Bomberinas as they took a 20-14 lead following a 12-12 deadlock led by Cases in the fourth set en route to the gold.
Cases was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament, while teammates Wendy Semana and Rhea Dimaculangan were named Best Attacker and Setter, respectively.
The Bomberinas’ Honey Tubino and Angelique Dionela were named Best Blocker and Libero, respectively, while Jari Yongco of Medtek was named Best Server.
Air Force made a double celebration when it took the men’s crown with a 25-22, 25-20, 19-25, 25-22 victory over National University.