The Lady Rising Suns disposed of Smart-Maynilad, 25-16, 19-25, 25-15, 22-25, 15-7, in a hard-fought five-setter to complete a sweep of the best-of-three title series before a jampacked crowd at The Arena in San Juan.
Kannika Thipachot, voted the conference’s best scorer, poured in 24 big points while team captain Angge Tabaquero came with away 18 markers including the game-winning attack for the Lady Rising Suns.
More significantly, the Lady Rising Suns bagged the title unbeaten in all 16 games dating back to the eliminations as they became the first and only team to have done the feat in the 10-year history of the premiere women’s volleyball league in the country.
“Sobrang saya, nag-contribute lahat, nag-tulong-tulong lahat. Sabi ko nga 'wag na natin hayaan pa 'yung pangyayari ngayon, hindi na pwedeng mabura yan pag natalo tayo panghawakan na natin yan," said Cagayan Valley veteran coach Nes Pamilar.
It was the first V-League title for Pamilar.
Phomia Soraya was adjudged Finals MVP.
After Smart extended the match to a deciding fifth set, Cagayan regained momentum and started the decider with a 5-1 lead after capitalizing on the Net Spikers' three errors.
Dindin Santiago, however, came up with back-to-back hits as the Net Spikers held on, 7-14.
The Lady Rising Suns had a premature celebration at mid-court after a Santiago attack went out, only for the referees to rule that it was off the block.
But Cagayan was not to be denied of its place in V-League history as Tabaquero ended the Net Spikers' remaining hopes with a cross-court attack to seal the victory.
“Sabi ko lang panghawakan na namin 'yung team work namin,” said Pamilar. “Sabi ko sa kanila hindi pwedeng ma-pressure, focus lang (sa fifth set).”
Cagayan proved stronger at the net by coming up with 14 blocks against nine for Smart, but lost in the service area (5-9).
Santiago took charge for Smart with 26 points, while Alyssa Valdez and Thai import Lithawat Kesinee added 13 apiece.
The Net Spikers ended the tournament with a 10-7 win-loss card.