LINGAYEN - Philippine Merchant Marine School's Nao Sagawa and Ana Nicole Banas sizzled with their big serves and emerged as unlikely champions in the second leg of the 2014 Petron Ladies Beach Volleyball Tournament.
Their service aces were simply too much for La Salle-Dasmarinas' Aileen Abuel and Regina Tungol to handle when championship action ended under the scorching afternoon sun at the sand courts of the provincial capitol grounds here.
The 18-year-old PMMS students needed three sets to bag the title, 18-21, 21-14, 15-11, in a best-of-three finals of this tournament supported by the Provincial Government of Pangasinan, the office of Governor Amado Espino, the office of Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil (second district) and Mikasa Balls.
Earlier, Abuel, who now works as a fitness instructor, endured the pain on her back and hips after she and Tungol edged University of Luzon duo Marife Diaz and Mary Joy Marcellones, 21-19, in their last elimination-round assignment.
The more experienced pair from La Salle-Dasma then hung tough in the semifinals as they turned back University of the East's Abigail Escandor and Regina Alanguilan, 21-17.
On the other hand, the Makati-based Sagawa, whose father is from Okinawa, Japan, and mom is from Noveleta, Cavite, unloaded six aces when she and Banas stopped defending champion Melanie Carrera and Pangasinense spiker Juvelyn Castillo, 21-14, in their own semifinal clash.
Abuel’s painful back and hips took its toll on her after the first set of the finals as Sagawa and Banas picked up the pace. Sagawa kept the game close when she pounded Abuel and Tungol with three aces for an 18-all tie in the first set.
Hobbling from pain and fatigue, Abuel then hit two aces as they took the first set, 21-18.
“Focus lang at mindset na kailangan naming matalo sila, kahit second place lang kami after the elims. Pero nanalo din, kaya salamat po, nakuha lang sa tiyaga,” stated Sagawa, a hotel and restaurant management freshman.
Tungol, now a law student at San Beda College, and Abuel worked their way to a 14-all tie in the second set before a net error allowed the PMMS belles to take over, with Sagawa leveling the score at 1-all with her two aces following a 21-17 win.
In the third set, Sagawa and Banas stepped up with their services and fought Abuel and Tungol to a 10-all deadlock. They then took the last five points on Tungol’s long and out-of-bounds return shot, and Banas’ ace.
As Abuel replied with a placement shot from the net to remain close for the last time, 11-12, Sagawa took the last three points with her drop shot and two aces to win the set, 15-11.