CAGAYAN Valley found its rhythm in the nick of time and scored its first win on the last day of the quarterfinal round, a straight sets win that catapulted them into the last four of the V-League Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan.
The defending champions had struggled in the six-team round-robin quarterfinals, going winless in the first four matches and entering Sunday’s match needing no longer than a four-set win to claim the No. 3 spot in the semifinals and avoid a playoff.
But a much different Lady Rising Suns showed up, and led by Janine Marciano and Aiza Maizo, pulled off a 28-26, 25-20, 25-20, win in an hour and 28 minutes to seal the win and keep alive their title retention bid.
That left three teams all sporting 5-5 win-loss cards including match results carried over from the preliminaries, but with a superior quotient Cagayan Valley takes No. 3 and leaves Ateneo and Air Force to battle for the No. 4 spot.
Cagayan Valley coach Nes Pamilar said they simply did not want to go out on a five-match skid.
“Sinabi ko lang sa kanila na last game na namin 'to, pangit naman kung mga-five straight losses kami. Siguro natauhan na 'yung mga players ko,”said Pamilar, adding he is still clueless why his wards could not execute in previous matches the simple things they do in training.
“Hindi nila nagagawa ’yung mga pina-pratice namin. Pag dating na sa laro wala na, di na nagagawa ang inensayo, kung anu-ano ang nasa isip nila,” said Pamilar.
Maika Ortiz and Judy Ann Caballejo both scored 15 for the Air Women, who will try to get back at the young Ateneo Lady Eagles side that stopped them in their quarterfinal encounter. Only eight players suited up for the Lady Eagles in the match held over a week ago, with three missing the match due to illness.