CAGAYAN Valley star Bhebs Pineda was elated to see the Rising Suns go home with a win after an energy sapping match that took two hours and 17 minutes to decide on Sunday in the Super Liga at the PhilSports Arena.
The former Adamson Lady Falcon noted that the five-set victory was huge because Army is parading a veteran-laden side which has been playing together for a while, its last the Open conference of the Shakey's V-League.
"Sobrang pinaghirapan talaga namin ’yung Army kasi intact sila," said Pineda.
Led by team captain Joanne Bunag, the Lady Troopers have a solid lineup composed of Tina Salak, Genie Sabas, Carolino sisters Michelle and Mayeth, Jean Balse, Dahlia Cruz, Ers Iratay, Jacqueline Alarca, Angela Nunag, Patricia Torres, Melody Gutierrez, Jovelyn Gonzaga and Nene Bautista.
Cagayan Valley, on the other hand, is parading a new-look squad with just a handful of holdovers, including Jheck Dionela and Honey Royse Tubino, from the Rising Suns’ previous tournament.
"Kaya nag-tiyaga lang talaga kami sa depensa laban sa kanila," said Pineda.
Leading by two sets, Cagayan Valley was outplayed by the Philippine Army in the fourth set before regaining their bearings in the fifth. The drawn-out see-saw battle ended with a 25-23, 25-27, 26-24, 14-25, 15-12 victory by the Rising Suns.
Although outscored in terms of spikes (57-63) the Lady Rising Suns had more excellent digs (52-35), as libero Dionela and Pineda came up with 26 and 14, respectively. Cagayan Valley also had the upper hand in the receiving department (28-25).
Pineda and the rest of the Lady Rising Suns hope to grab their second win as they take on PCSO-Bingo Milyonaryo on Wednesday at The Arena in San Juan.
Game time is 4 p.m.