WITH KANNIKA Thipachot and Angeli Tabaquero flashing sharp forms, Cagayan Province overwhelmed Far Eastern U, 25-16, 25-17, 25-22, yesterday to clinch its place in the quarterfinals of the Shakey’s V-League Season 10 Open Conference at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
The power-hitting duo combined for 24 points as the Rising Suns rolled to victory in 67 minutes, stretching their unbeaten start to five matches while inflicting a fourth straight loss on the Lady Tamaraws.
Aiza Maizo contributed 11 markers, while Phomia Soraya wound up with nine points apart from delivering 28 excellent sets as the Rising Suns sent a strong message in preparation for their highly-anticipated clash with Army tomorrow.
Later, Air Force, relying on its University of Santo Tomas recruits, pounced on a shorthanded Smart squad, 25-22, 25-18, 25-17, to even its card to 2-2.
Maika Ortiz hammered home 14 of her 16 points on kills, while Judy Ann Caballejo also delivered a solid outing with 12 points for the Air Women, who moved into solo fifth spot.
Already a few players short in their lineup, the Net Spikers absorbed another blow with the absence of libero Melissa Gohing due to a prior commitment.
Without their most reliable defensive player, the Net Spikers’ floor defense proved brittle, an opportunity the Air Women capitalized with a total of 42 kills.
It was Smart’s second straight loss, after opening the tournament with three consecutive victories, although the Net Spikers remain in a strong position to claim one of the five remaining quarterfinal spots.
The Net Spikers also struggled to get through the Air Women’s defense at the net, scoring on just 29 out of their 153 attacks.
Averaging double digit in kills entering the match, the usually explosive duo of Gretchel Soltones and Suzanne Roces were held to just eight and seven hits, respectively.
With the loss, the Lady Tamaraws now need to sweep their last three games to stay in the hunt for the last quarterfinal slot. They face another winless team, Navy, tomorrow in a game that could prove decisive to their hopes of reaching the quarterfinals.