Thai imports Bualee, Utaiwan power Sandugo over Cagayan in V-League finalsBy Mark Giongco
MANILA, Philippines—Thai imports Jeng Bualee and Kaensing Utaiwan led the way as Sandugo-San Sebastian edged Cagayan-Perpetual Help, 18-25, 29-27, 14-25, 25-13, 15-7, Sunday night to seize a 1-0 lead in their best-of-three championship series in the Shakey’s V-League Season 9 Open Conference at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
Bualee, who won her sixth Best Scorer of the Conference award, topscored with 26 points while Utaiwan, the Best Blocker, had 23 points.
The top-ranked Lady Stags, who easily disposed of Ateneo in the semifinals, trailed, 1-2, before regaining their form in the final two sets.
Sandugo almost fell to an early 0-2 hole before it outlasted Cagayan in a grueling second set.
The Lady Stags fell behind, 26-27, after Angela Benting’s attempt went out. San Sebastian got a break though, after seldom-used Shyrra Cabriana’s serve went long.
Nene Bautista knotted the count at 27 before a well-placed tap by Suzanne Roces gave the Lady Stags the win.
The Rising Suns gave everything they could, the team also showed their resiliency after clawing back to a 1-7 deficit in the third set.
Kunbang Pornpimol and Rose Tubino, the Best Attacker, shared team-high honors with 17 points.
Sandra de los Santos, the conference’s Most Valuable Player, chipped in 11 markers.
Both teams meet again on Tuesday with San Sebastian going for the crown at 6 p.m.
Army will look to tie things up with Ateneo in their battle for third place set at 4 p.m.
Perpetual Help’s other key cogs Angeline Dionela and skipper Joy Cases were also handed with awards.
Dionela was named Best Digger while Cases won the Best Server award.
The Lady Troopers’ Angela Nunag and Tina Salaka were the conference’s Best Receiver and Best Setter respectively.