PHILIPPINE Army is no defending champion for nothing, outlasting erstwhile unbeaten Sandugo-San Sebastian in five thrilling sets, 25-21, 25-22, 16-25, 12-25, 15-8, of Sunday’s titanic showdown in the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
The Lady Troopers were on the brink of sweeping the Lady Stags until a left sprain ankle sidelined former national team member Michelle Carolino in the third set.
Carolino’s exit allowed the Lady Stags to force a fifth and deciding set. A 15-4 run in the fourth, capped by a Jeng Baulee power hit, kept the momentum going for Sandugo in the final frame.
But the Lady Troopers were not to be denied as they charged back with six unanswered points to control the decisive set, 10-5, and the win.
“Dapat kanina pa kami panalo doon, kaya lang nga-relax `yung team nung third and fourth sets,” said Philippine Army coach Sgt. Rico de Guzman.
The victory tied the defending champions with the Lady Stags on top at 6-1, as they avenged their lone loss in the tournament.
“Dapat lang na makabawi kami sa kanila. Sabi ko lang sa kanila nung fifth set, lumaban tayo at ipakita natin kung anong team ang dinadala natin – Army tayo,” added de Guzman.
Rachel Anne Daquis led the Lady Troopers’ attack with 17 points, while Mayeth Carolino and Jacqueline Alarca had 10 apiece
Bualee finished with 18 for Sandugo, with Angela Benting and Nene Bautista with 10 each.