IMUS CITY — Jovelyn Gonzaga put on a show, leading RC Cola-Army to an emphatic 25-21, 25-17, 25-23 conquest of Foton in the 2016 PLDT Home Ultera Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference women’s volleyball tournament at the Imus Sports Complex.
Hailing from Iloilo, the power-hitting Gonzaga caught fire early to help the Lady Troopers gain control and seal their fourth victory in this prestigious inter-club tourney bankrolled by Mikasa, Senoh, Mueller, Asics and Grand Sport with TV5 as official broadcast partner.
Gonzaga delivered 18 kills and three blocks for a game-high 22 points while Joanne Bunag and Rachel Anne Daquis combined for 16 markers for the Lady Troopers, who formally captured the first seat in the final round after winning all of their four matches without losing a single set.
Another powerhouse side in Petron is also tipped to punch a ticket in the final round pending the result of its match against Cignal, which is still being played at press time.
A victory by the Tri-Activ Spikers will not only send them to the final round, but will also complete the three-team cast with idle F2 Logistics gaining access after winning four of its six games in the first two rounds. A team from Thailand will also be joining the final round which starts on April 7.
But against the Toplander, RC Cola-Army looked solid and ready to contend for another crown.
“Kayang-kaya,” said Lady Troopers coach Kungfu Reyes, beaming with pride and confidence after Gonzaga and Daquis jumped the gun early to seal the win in just one hour and 15 minutes.
“Jovelyn was very consistent. Nagkakamali sya, pero nakakabawi naman agad. Binawasan lang namin ang errors namin at itinama ang executions para makuha ang panalo.”
Although Foton threatened to extend the match to another set after erecting a seven-point advantage in the third set, RC Cola-Army responded with sharper attacks and more solid defense to inch closer, 13-16, entering the second technical timeout.
Gonzaga buckled down to work and gave RC Cola-Army the driver’s seat, 23-22, before Honey Royse Tubino scored a beautiful hit from the middle off a set from veteran playmaker Tina Salak to seal the victory.
“Instead na mag-panic, mas naging composed pa sila at pulido ang mga galaw,” Reyes said. “I also give it to Foton. Hindi sila sumuko at binigyan pa din nila kami ng magandang laban.”
Click for a photo set by Roman Prospero
March 17 at the FilOil Flying V Center
4 pm — RC Cola-Army vs Petron (Live on TV5, AksyonTV)
6 pm — Foton vs Cignal (Live on AksyonTV)