KANNIKA Thipachot produced another sterling all-around effort as Cagayan Valley smashed Meralco, 26-24, 25-22, 25-14, yesterday to gain at least a playoff for a quarterfinal berth of the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Playing with a spring on her step, the Thai reinforcement collected 24 points with 18 coming off attacks and four off blocks to spearhead the Rising Suns domination of the Power Smashers in an hour and 18 minutes.
It was the fourth straight victory for the Rising Suns, who also got a combined 24-point output from former University of Santo Tomas standouts Angeli Tabaquero and Aiza Maizo.
Earlier, 2011 champion Army outplayed Navy, coasting to a 25-14, 25-12, 25-13 triumph in a little under an hour.
Lovelynn Gonzaga wound up with 11 points, matching the output of former league Most Valuable Player Nerissa Bautista as Army improved to 2-0.
Navy, which also suffered a 12-25, 12-25, 16-25, loss to Cagayan in its debut, absorbed its second straight defeat in the league sponsored by Shakey’s and backed by Mikasa and Accel.
Aside from unleashing a pair of services aces, Gonzaga also accounted for seven excellent digs and helped form a wall at the net together with Bautista and skipper Joanne Bunag.
“I’m trying to contribute in every way I can to help the team,” said Gonzaga.
Ma. Theresa Iratay produced 21 of the team’s 35 excellent sets, while Bunag and Genie Sabas finished with eight hits apiece.
Army coach Rico De Guzman rested one of his top hitters, Mary Jean Balse, starting the second set with Gonzaga and Bautista already finding their rhythm.
Michelle Laborte tallied nine hits and Rose Prochina added six for Navy, which needs to win at least three games to put itself in a good position to make the next round.
Except for the opening set, the Rising Suns encountered little resistance from the Power Smashers, who only had one player scoring in double figures in Coco Wang with 18 hits.
The Rising Suns notched a 48-28 advantage on attack points as Thai setter Phomia Soraya efficiently set up the trio of Kannika, Tabaquero and Maizo finishing with a 36 excellent sets.
The Power Smashers dropped to 2-2 for fourth spot although they still have the inside track to snare one of the six quarterfinal berths.