GENERIKA-Philippine Army continued its rise and grounded Air Asia, 25-20, 23-25, 25-20, 25-15, on Sunday in the Philippine Super Liga women’s volleyball tournament at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Boosted by the return of veteran setter Tina Salak, the two-time champion Lady Troopers never looked back after banking on a telling salvo in the third set to notch their second straight victory after dropping their first two assignments.
Army, which solidified its hold of fourth spot in the seven-team standings, also handed the Flying Spikers their first loss in three games in their inaugural campaign in the All-Filipino conference.
Jovelyn Gonzaga and Mary Jean Balse delivered on offense with 19 and 18 points, respectively, but it was Salak who set them up as the former national team stalwart registered 42 of the Lady Troopers’ 47 excellent sets.
“Sobrang laking bagay ni Tina sa team namin,” Lady Troopers coach Rico de Guzman said. “Yung pangalawang setter namin, nahihirapan yung mga spiker kasi hindi niya ma-kabisado. Pero yung si Tina, alam niya kung ano yung dapat ibigay na play.”
The Flying Spikers, a rookie squad with a core composed of former La Salle standouts, threatened to gain a commanding 2-1 set lead after establishing a 17-12 lead in the third period.
But the Lady Troopers’ experience proved to be the difference as they registered 10 unanswered points, three each from Gonzaga and Balse to turn the game around and win the next two sets.
“Siguro yun (experience) yung advantage namin kasi matatagal na kaming magkakasama,” Balse said. “Kung may mga bago man kami, dinadala naman namin sa court. Pero lahat naman ng team may veteran, siguro umangat lang kami sa teamwork.”