TMS Philippine Army finally put a stop to Cagayan Valley’s juggernaut.
Recovering from a sluggish opening set, the Lady Troopers put their act together in time to edge out the Lady Rising Suns, 19-25, 25-14, 25-14, 25-17, finally putting to a halt Cagayan’s extended winning streak in Friday’s Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix at The Arena in San Juan.
Thai reinforcement Luangtonglang Wanitchaya poured in 23 points for Army, while local players Jean Balse and Jovelyn Gonzaga chipped in 11 each, and Jac Alarca added 10.
But it was veteran setter Tina Salak who spelled the difference in the four-set win by producing 46 of the team's 48 excellent sets for Army.
“Satisfied ako (sa nilaro ni Tina) maganda lagi ang receive niya,” said Army coach Rico de Guzman.
The loss stopped the Lady Rising Suns on their tracks after an amazing 17-game winning streak that included an unbeaten sweep of the Shakey’s V-League Season 10 Open Conference.
Cagayan fell to an even 1-1 slate, while Philippine Army improved to 2-0.
Army proved steadier at the net by coming up with 10 blocks compared to the six of Cagayan, and came away with five service aces against only one by the Lady Rising Suns.
“Last tournament kasi nahirapan kami sa Cagayan kasi ang nagdadala sa kanila 'yung setter nila,” stressed de Guzman referring to Cagayan’s former setter Phomia Soraya during the Shakey's V-League.
“Ngayon nagpalit na sila (ng setter). 'Yung locals naman nila basang basa namin, tapos 'yung two foreign players namin nag-co-connect na sa amin,” he added.
Maizo at Kotrunag came through with 13 points each for Cagayan, while Patchare Sansmuang added 11.
The Lady Troopers appeared set to coast to the win after leading by as much as 14-5 in the final set.
But Wanida Kotruang and Wenneth Eulalo cut down the deficit to 15-19, but Salak later came through with three straight points before Aiza Maizo committed a net violation to clinch it for Army.