V-League: Vietnam whips Army; Ateneo stays alive
MANILA, Philippines – Vietnam’s Vietsovpetro drubbed an error-prone Philippine Army, 25-20, 25-23, 25-23, Friday to clinch the first finals berth even as a hard-fighting Ateneo squad remained in the hunt in the V-League Southeast Asian Club Invitational at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
The Lady Eagles fought back from two sets down to nip Malaysia, 13-25, 22-25, 25-19, 29-27, 15-12, and forge a virtual knockout duel with Malaysia today for the other finals berth.
Alyssa Valdez unleashed a tournament-high 27 points, but it was Fille Cainglet who put the finishing touches to the stirring win for the Lady Eagles, who dropped their first game to Vietsovpetro in straight sets.
“We wanted to make our experience in the tournament worth it,” Ateneo coach Roger Gorayeb said in Filipino. “It’s been tough because we only have eight players here.”
Half of Gorayeb’s team are playing in the University Games in Roxas City this week.
Army flashed its vaunted attack against Vietsovpetro, but couldn’t keep its mistakes to a minimum.
It was Vietsovpetro’s second straight win, after its 25-15, 25-16, 25-17 win over Ateneo last Thursday.
The Lady Troopers, champions of the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference two months ago, fell to an even 1-1, after committing 27 errors, 18 more than the Vietnamese.
Six-foot-one open hitter Martynova Eketerina, one of the two Russian reinforcements for Vietnam, led her team with 12 points, while Loan Tran Thi chipped in 11.
Rachel Ann Daquis fired 16 points to pace the Lady Troopers, whose 49 attack points were not enough to offset their error-filled game.
The Lady Eagles overcame a sluggish start and saved a match point in the fourth set en route to matching Army’s 1-1 card.
A Dzi Gervacio tip at the net and a kill by Cainglet at match point completed the remarkable rally for Ateneo, which had 10 points off blocks.
Errors by Wong Fei Tien gave the Lady Eagles a lifeline in the fourth set, before Cainglet fired five of her total output in the deciding game.
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