Sandugo-SSC, Cagayan begin finals showdownBy Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Sandugo-San Sebastian hopes to sustain its fiery form in the title round against a Cagayan Valley squad trying to pull off another upset in the Shakey’s V-League Open Sunday.
The Lady Stags—the top seed fresh from a semifinal sweep of first conference champion Ateneo—expect the Rising Suns to match up strong even if Sandugo remains the favorite in Game 1 of the best-of-three series at 4 p.m. at Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
Ateneo and Philippine Army fight for third in the first game at 2 p.m., right before the league honors the top individual performers of the conference.
Powered by Thai Sutadta Chuewulim and Sandra delos Santos, the Rising Suns outlasted the Lady Troopers in a five-set thriller, 17-25, 25-15, 24-26, 25-18, 15-7, in Game 2 of the semifinals on Friday night.
“They’re a strong team,” Sandugo coach Roger Gorayeb said of the Rising Suns, the league newcomer who dethroned last season champion Army with a surprise 2-0 semifinal sweep.
Chuewulim unloaded 16 kills in a 20-point performance, while Delos Santos fired 18 markers for the Rising Suns.
In the opener, the duo also fueled the Rising Suns’ strong attacking game to stun the Lady Troopers in straight sets, 25-20, 25-15, 25-20, last Wednesday.
Power-hitters led by Thai standout Jeng Bualee, though, also banner the Lady Stags’ star-studded roster.
In Game 2 of the semifinals, all of Bualee’s 22 points came off kills to tow the Lady Stags to a runaway 25-9, 25-14, 25-19 victory over the Lady Eagles.
Former league MVPs Nene Bautista and Suzanne Roces backstop the Lady Stags’ charge along with Angela Benting, Joy Benito and Thai Utaiwan Kaensing.