NCR's National University, Western Visayas' Central Philippine University win opening matches in Girls' V-League national finals
Central Visayas’ Janzel Bate scores over Southern Luzon’s Janel Maraguinot and Jewel Encarnacion.

NATIONAL Capital Region dismantled Northern Mindanao in straight sets, while defending champion Western Visayas and Southern Luzon needed extra sets to hurdle their respective rivals in the opener of the Shakey’s Girls Volleyball League Season 13 national finals on Monday at the Astrodome.

The NCR bets, represented by National University, overpowered their Northern Mindanao rivals from the Angelicum Learning Center, scoring a 25-15, 25-20 romp in Pool B of the finals featuring eight regional winners.

Southern Luzon, bannered by the De La Salle-Lipa, joined NCR in the Pool B lead with a tough 25-16, 24-26, 25-21 victory over Central Visayas, anchored by the University of San Jose-Recoletos bets.

Western Visayas, now represented by Central Philippine University, bucked a shaky start to thwart Northern Luzon, 22-25, 25-9, 25-23, in Pool A. Western Visayas was represented last year by St. John’s Institute.

Meanwhile, the race to the semifinals heats up today (Wednesday) with Western Visayas battling Southern Mindanao at 3 p.m.; NCR facing Central Visayas at 4 p.m.; Northern Luzon colliding with Eastern Visayas at 5 p.m.; and Northern Mindanao and Central Visayas colliding at 6 p.m.

Southern Mindanao is represented by Davao City National High School, Eastern Visayas is made up of the Leyte National High School standouts, while Northern Luzon is represented by the Angeles University Foundation in Pool A of the tournament sponsored by Shakey’s and backed by Asics, Mikasa and My Phone.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @spinph