Western Visayas struck back from the brink and pulled off an improbable 25-27, 22-25, 25-13, 27-25, 15-13 victory over a stunned National Capital Regional side to capture the Shakey’s Girls Volleyball League Season 12 League of Champions crown at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City last Sunday.
Represented by St. John’s Institute, the Bacolod-based lasses put on one big play after another after going 0-2 down, taking the third set in emphatic fashion before hacking out a pair of thrillers to complete the stirring come-from-behind victory before a big crowd.
Princess Robles, Therese Maravilla, Catherine Pollentes, Jewel Maligmat and Sylvia Araneta combined in that big third frame fight back then sustained their form to outduel their fancied rivals from National University in nerve-wracking finishes in the last two sets to snatch the crown in the league sponsored by Shakey’s and organized by Metro Sports.
The 15-year-old Robles went on to bag the MVP honors and best opposite spiker award while Pollentes took the best setter plum. Other awardees were NCR’s Kristine Magallanes (best libero), Faith Nisperos (best outside spiker), Caitlin Viray (best middle blocker), Southern Luzon’s Jewel Encarnacion (second best middle blocker) and Southern Mindanao’s May Luna (second best outside spiker).
Other members of the WV team were Kristianne Cortez, Glaudine Troncoso, Lyka Yusay, Jane Hachero, Nicole Escares and Hannah Infante with coaches Peter Yusay and Roberto Lozada and assistant mentors Michael Baloyo and Mae Ang.
Southern Luzon edged Southern Mindanao, 25-16, 22-25, 25-18, to finish third in the event backed by Mikasa, Asics, Volley Prep, Nature’s Spring, Sun Star, The Freeman Newspaper, Cebu Daily News, Chooga, El Lobo Energy Drink and Millenia.
The win thus capped St. John’s Institute’s successful campaign after a dominating performance in the regional elims before matching NCR’s sweep of the single round elims in the League of Champions’ Final Four stage.