Collegiate volleyball’s finest; Malditas make mark
Inquirer Sports concludes its three-part report on events and personalities that made 2017 another year to remember.
Dawn Macandili and Marck Espejo shone brightest in local volleyball this year. After helping La Salle clinch a second straight UAAP title, the five-foot Macandili won second best libero in the 19th AVC Asian Senior Women’s Championship. Espejo, meanwhile, copped an unprecedented fourth straight UAAP MVP award on top of a third commercial league MVP, the last in the inaugural Premier Volleyball League (PVL).
The Philippine women’s football team made waves as it reached the AFC Women’s Asian Cup for the first time in 15 years. The Malditas earned a berth in the 2018 edition after placing second in their group in the Tajikistan qualifiers last April. Ceres also marked a banner year as the football club bagged the AFC Cup 2017 Asean zone title and the Philippines Football League (PFL) championship.
Team Manila downed defending champion Central Hemet Xplozion, 7-1, to become the first Asian team to rule the 2017 Pony International 18-under Girls Softball World Series last July in Hemet, California. The Philippine Blu Girls, meanwhile, nabbed a silver in the 2017 Women’s Softball Asian Championship in Taiwan to secure berths in the 2018 Women’s Softball Championship and the 2018 Asian Games.
Jiu-jitsu stars Margarita Ochoa and Annie Ramirez delivered a golden double for the Philippines in the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (Aimag) last September in Turkmenistan. Ochoa topped the women’s Ne-waza -45kg, while Ramirez reigned in the -55kg category.
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