Inquirer 7: Best moments in Philippine volleyball in 2017
In just a couple of days, the world will usher in 2018, but before the fireworks go off and the clock hits midnight allow Inquirer to set you up for some reminiscing in the world of sports.
After counting down the best basketball moments of 2017, this time let’s talk about Philippine volleyball, which reached greater heights this year.
1. La Salle repeats
It’s pretty safe to say that it has been a decade of dominance for De La Salle.
And in 2017 the Lady Spikers made sure that the UAAP volleyball landscape would still be covered in green-and-white ribbons after sweeping rival Ateneo in two games.
The Lady Spikers traded blows with the Lady Eagles in the second game of the Season 79 title series eventually winning in five sets 19-25, 25-14, 18-25, 25-18, 15-10.
MVP Mary Joy Baron put La Salle at match point, 14-10, before Ateneo’s Jhoana Maraguinot sailed her ball outside awarding the Lady Spikers 10th UAAP title.
And La Salle’s rule in the UAAP doesn’t just include 2017 with the Lady Spikers owning five of the seven titles this decade with the other two going to Ateneo.
2. Arellano wins one for a loved one
Across the proverbial pond to the NCAA, Arellano pushed through heartache and put on an inspired performance for head coach Obet Javier.
Just a week before the title-clincher, Javier’s wife Amy passed away to cancer and it was up to the Lady Chiefs to give their mentor something to hold on to.
And that something was the championship trophy as the Lady Chiefs pushed aside San Sebastian’s thrice-to-beat advantage and claim the title in four sets, 25-15, 22-25, 25-23, 25-16.
3. A Dawn rises
Dawn Macandili is exactly five-feet tall and will never be the tallest player in any team she gets into, but the diminutive defensive dynamite shone with a bright silver luster in the Asian stage.
La Salle’s libero made herself known in the continental stage when she won the Second Best Libero plum in the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship earning respect from her continental contemporaries.
4. Southeast Asian stunner
Upsets are always fun shows in sports, and the Philippines pulled off just that in the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship.
Although the Filipinos failed to stand on the podium, they did shock the tournament when they pulled off the stunner against Vietnam in the preliminary rounds.
Vietnam, during the August tournament, was ranked no.44 in the world and that is 33 spots ahead of the Philippines that is at no.79, but the Filipinos never looked at rankings during four-set thriller.
Alyssa Valdez finished off Vietnam and capped off the Philippines’ 27-25, 26-24, 17-25, 25-23 victory.
5. Ateneo Blue Eagles go unbeaten
Ateneo was the picture of perfection in the UAAP men’s volleyball of Season 80 when it went on a tear of the competition and finished the tournament with an unblemished 14-0 slate.
The Blue Eagles then trumped National University in two games to complete the three-peat courtesy of a five-set win 18-25, 25-16, 20-25, 25-18, 15-13 as four-time MVP Marck Espejo pushed through with 27 points.
6. F2 comes back for first PSL Grand Prix title
No lead was safe when the F2 Logistics started rolling.
In the second game of the Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix finals, the Cargo Movers were down two sets to one against Petron and 0-9 in the fourth set before forcing a rubber match after five-set win, 25-20, 24-26, 14-25, 25-19, 15-4.
The Cargo Movers then completed the comeback in the third game with a masterful four-set performance, 25-20, 25-20, 20-25, 25-18.
F2 ckipper Cha Cruz showed her savvy in the clutch giving the Cargo Movers a 23-17 lead in the fourth set before MJ Perez won it all with a booming kill.
7. Petron ends drought
The young history of the PSL will never be complete without its first rulers, and those two were Army and Petron.
The Lady Troopers were the champions of the first three conferences before the Blaze Spikers took over and won the next two.
Petron, however, wasn’t able to match Army’s string with Foton taking the Grand Prix title in 2015.
And it took the Blaze Spikers two whole years before going back to the top as they won the 2017 All-Filipino Conference.
Substitute Cherry Rondina powered Petron with 16 points as the Blaze Spikers
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