UNDERMANNED, and yet Cagayan still found a way to win, dumping Philippine Navy in straight sets, 25-17, 25-17, 25-19, Sunday in the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
The Rising Suns played without head coach Mike Rafael and stalwarts Norie Jane Diaz and April Anne Sartin. Rafael was in Subic to coach Perpetual Help in the finals of the NCAA beach volleyball event.
But even in their absence, the Rising Suns pulled off the win and made the semis in the company of unbeaten Sandugo-San Sebastian and defending champion Philippine Army.
Meanwhile, Allysa Valdez and Fille Cainglet rallied Ateneo past a gritty Far Eastern University side in a hard-earned five sets victory, 22-25, 15-25, 25-21, 26-24, 18-16, in Sunday’s second game.
Two sets down and on the brink of losing, Valdez, the First Conference Finals MVP, and Cainglet, provided the needed boost for the Lady Eagles, closing the third set behind an eight-point swing as Ateneo stayed alive in the game.
Cainglet and Valdez later fired nine of Ateneo’s 12 points in the fourth to force the deciding set.
The Ateneo duo finished with 25 (Valdez) and 22 points (Cainglet) as the Lady Eagles improved to 3-4 overall.
“Malaki ang puso nung mga bata na manalo,” said Ateneo coach Parlye Tupaz. “Kahit nagka-cramps na si Valdez kanina, kinaya niya pa. Noong una, masama laro namin, puro kami errors. Buti nung huli naka-recover kami.”
The Tamaraws, whose first six played the entire game, remained winless in seven games.
Cagayan was forced to a tight game in both the second and third sets, but never encountered problems in disposing its opponent.
The Rising Suns scored eight straight points to win the second set after being held to a 17-17 deadlock.
The score was likewise tied at 14-14 in the third set, until the Rising Suns countered with a 10-3 run, capped by a Shyrra Cabriana service ace to pull off the win.
Despite the win, Cagayan assistant coach Sherwin Bariuan felt unsatisfied with the way his players performed.
“Nanalo kami pero di kami Masaya,” he admitted. “Di yan ang ini-expect ko na mangyari, pati ng mga tao at ng mga Cagayano.”
Team captain Joy Cases led the Rising Suns with 16 points, including 10 hits, two blocks, and four service aces, Reigning NCAA MVP Sandra delos Santos added 14, while Honey Royse Tubino had 11.
Cagayan remains in third place with a 5-2 (win-loss) record.
Ailene Suson had seven points to lead the Lady Sailors, who tumbled to their sixth loss in seven outings.