Central Visayas represented by the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) overcame a second set setback and outlasted New Zealand in a thrilling decider to hack out a 25-16, 22-25, 25-20 victory and complete a sweep of Pool B in the Shakey’s Girls’ Volleyball League Season 11 Tournament of Champions at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium Wednesday.
After sweeping its first three rivals, including a scary 25-23, 30-28 win over Southern Luzon champion La Salle-Lipa, Central Visayas was pushed to the limit by the visiting squad. But the USJ-R spikers rose to the occasion in the third set to defuse the Kiwis and clinch the top spot in Pool B.
CV will face the No. 2 team in Pool A in tomorrow’s crossover semis. New Zealand, which dropped to 2-1, tipped to clinch the other Final Four slot of Pool B is up for a clash with Pool A’s No. 1 squad.
Earlier, Western Visayas survived a second-set meltdown before prevailing over Northern Luzon, 25-11, 19-25, 25-14, to book a semis berth in Pool A of the event sponsored by Shakey’s and organized by Metro Sports.
The bets from Central Philippines University-Iloilo poured it all in the deciding set to secure their third straight triumph in the event backed by Mikasa, Asics, Tune Hotel, Burlington, BioFresh, Food Health and Science Magazine.
That assured the WV bets of a Final Four stint regardless of the outcome of their last elims showdown with defending champion National Capital Region, represented by Hope Christian High School, today.
“The team relaxed a bit in the second set so in the third, I told them to give it their all so that we’ll be guaranteed of our place in the semis,” said WVI coach Jeffrey Alcarde whose team paced NCR (2-0 at presstime) in Pool A.
Sisters Julie Ann and Princess Anne Robles spearheaded WVI’s assault in the deciding set against NLU’s Baguio City National HS, punching in a combined 10 kills as the Ilonggas raced to 16-5 cushion and didn’t let this one slip away.
Julie Ann Robles finished 11 points for WVI, which is seeking to duplicate its championship feat in 2011.
Southern Luzon’s La Salle Lipa outclassed Eastern Visayas’ Leyte National HS, 25-21, 25-11, for its first victory after three losses. Tacloban-based EVI fell to 0-2.
In Pool B, Central Visayas already put a lock a Final Fourth berth with its hard-earned 25-23, 30-28 disposal of SLU last Tuesday.
The annual event features the country’s top high school teams plus two foreign guest squads.