Army beats Cignal, wins inaugural Super Liga championship
MANILA, Philippines — Mary Jean Balse had been one of Philippine Army’s leader throughout the tournament.
And it was only fitting that Balse, one of PH volleyball’s greats, delivered the game’s final point and the championship to the Lady Troopers, who bested Cignal, 25-15, 25-18, 14-25, 25-16, in the one-game Finale of the Philippine Super Liga women’s volleyball invitational at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Balse, who made a name for herself in the UAAP with University of Santo Tomas, finished with 16 points, highlighted by four straight points in the fourth set that widened Army’s gap to eight, 18-10.
“Sobrang saya. Ayon na yung title eh. Kung may next conference, hindi naman makakalimutan yung first title,” said Balse.
Honey Royse Tubino, the league’s Best Spiker, willed Cignal back to within five, 13-18.
But Jovelyn Gonzaga followed Balse’s lead as she put the HD Spikers away with a big block on Danika Gendrauli, a cross-court spike then another hit to make it, 22-13 — capping a 5-0 blast by the Lady Troopers.
Balse started the onslaught and ended it with an exclamation point as Army celebrated the inaugural championship the way its players enjoyed every point as they went closer and closer to the title.
“Kailangan ko talagang gumawa. One heart lang kami,” said Gonzaga after pouring in 12 timely points. “Sabi nga ni ate Tina (Salak) ‘wag na nating ibibigay ito, atin na ‘to.”
Tubino had 12 points for Cignal but Venus Bernal, the tournament MVP, was held to just eight points.
Army not only finished the tournament with a championship but also with a six-game winning streak after dropping its first game.
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