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    Lady Troopers atone for opening-day collapse, pull plug on Cignal's hot start

    Jul 10, 2013
    Veteran Mary Jean Balse celebrates a crucial point with Philippine Army teammates. Dante Peralta

    PHILIPPINE Army was quick to atone for its heartbreaking opening-game day loss by turning back Cignal HD, 25-11, 25-15, 25-27, 25-18, for its breakthrough win in the Philippine Super Liga on Wednesday at The Arena in San Juan.

    Nene Bautista came away with 16 points, while skipper Joanne Bunag and Michelle Carolino chipped in 15 and 11 markers, respectively, for the Lady Troopers, who evened their record to 1-1 for a tie with their victims.

    The Lady Troopers are coming off a sorry 25-23, 25-27, 26-24, 14-25, 15-12 loss to Cagayan Valley during Sunday’s launch of the fledgling women’s volleyball league.

    Army coach Rico de Guzman lamented how the Lady Troopers again relaxed after going two sets up against the HD Spikers.

    “Ayun na naman sila (players), nag-relax na naman (sa third set),” said De Guzman.

    Cignal made a fight out of it in the third frame behind Venus Bernal, the former University of Santo Tomas star whose power hit served as the clincher, 27-25, that extended the match.

    But the Lady Troopers got their bearings back and claimed the fourth set pulling away.

    Despite the `bad habit’ of his team, De Guzman was nonetheless relieved after Army breaking into the win column.

    “Malaking karangalan para sa Army na manalo na,” he said. “Kasi bumaba ang morale ng mga players noong natalo kami sa first game. Sabi ko sa kanila pagbutihin na natin, televised na ito makikita na tayo ng buong kasundaluhan.”

    The Lady Troopers were active at the defensive end with a total of six blocks compared to the single block made by HD Spikers courtesy of Bernal.

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    Bernal poured in 24 points from 21 spikes, one block, and two service aces in a losing effort for Cignal.

    Honey Tubino added 11 for the HD Spikers, who pulled a stunner during the opener following a straight set win over crowd favorite Petron. 

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    Veteran Mary Jean Balse celebrates a crucial point with Philippine Army teammates. Dante Peralta
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