Philippine Army kicked off its title-retention drive in the Shakey’s V-League Open in dominating fashion, sweeping AFP counterpart Navy with its power game for a 25-14, 25-14, 25-13 victory before a big Sunday crowd at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium yesterday.
Michelle Carolino knocked down eight kills and made two blocks and four service aces and top scored with 14 hits while Rachel Ann Daquis churned out a solid 13-point performance to key the Army ladies’ sustained charge in the 64-minute victory marking the start of the league’s ninth season’s second conference.
Cagayan Valley matched Army’s straight-set cruise later in the day as it rolled to a 25-20, 25-12, 25-21 victory over Far Eastern U in an inspiring debut in the league sponsored by Shakey’s Pizza and backed by Mikasa and Accel.
The Rising Suns, whose campaign is backed by Gov. Alvaro Antonio, proved steadier in a see-sawing first-set duel then dished out a steady game in the next before scrambling at endgame to complete the sweep.
Sandra delos Santos scored 23 hits, including 14 kills, the last she unleashed at center that the Lady Tams failed to handle, wrapping up the contest in 1:13.
Thai reinforcements Kunbang Pornpimol and Sutadta Chuewulim each fired 11 points while Joy Cases added 10 points for the Rising Suns, whose victory primed up for tomorrow’s tough game against fancied Sandugo-San Sebastian Lady Stags.
Cagayan produced 48 kills, nearly doubling FEU’s paltry 27-attack out with Iris Patrona leading the Lady Tams’ losing stand with 12.
Army unloaded a total of 34 attacks, 12 more than Navy’s to underscore its edge in power while pouncing on its rival’s poor reception with 15 service winners, including five from Alarca and three from Daquis.
Jacqueline Alarca added nine hits while Iari Yongco came in the last two sets to fire five points and Marietta Carolino added four points for the Army ladies, who humbled the San Sebastian Lady Stags to clinch the league’s inaugural Open title last year.
No Navy player scored in double-digit output to typify the team’s offensive struggle with Kiteh Rosale making seven points, including six attacks, and Gretchel Deposoy and Marilou Galido combining for nine markers.
The Army ladies also imposed their will on the net, scoring six blocks while producing 20 digs with Alarca and Michelle Carolino combining for nine.
They also came up with 17 excellent sets anchored on Cristina Salak’s 14.