With lefty spiker Jovelyn Gonzaga leading the way, 3-time champion RC Cola-Army eliminated Foton on Tuesday 25-21, 25-17, 25-13 and clinched a final round berth in the 2016 PSL Invitational Conference women’s volleyball tournament at the Imus Sports Complex in Cavite.
The 5-foot-8 Gonzaga showcased her spiking prowess as she tallied 18 hits while adding 3 blocks and a service ace for a 22-point effort as the Lady Troopers racked up their 4 straight victory in just 1 hour and 15 minutes.
More importantly, RC Cola-Army secured the first seat in the final round while giving Foton the boot as the Toplander suffered their 3rd loss in 4 matches in this inter-club tourney.
Veteran Rachel Anne Daquis and Joanne Bunag tallied 8 markers each while Nene Bautista, Genie Sabas and Honey Royse Tubino added at least 6 points in another balanced attack displayed by RC Cola-Army.
Lady Troopers coach Kung Fu Reyes, however, could not help but single out the outstanding performance shown by Gonzaga.
“She’s very consistent. Nagkakamali man siya pero naibabalik niya agad. Magkamali man siya ng isa, pupuntos agar siya ng apat, tatlo. Kaya positive pa rin ang result,” said Reyes.
Gonzaga got her game going early in the game as she tallied 9 quick points in the opening set then continued her onslaught in the second set where the Lady Troopers came out flat but went on a furious windup.
In the 3rd frame, the Toplander finally showed some tough resistance behind their rejuvenated defensive energy, taking a lead as high as 7 at 14-7.
But the Lady Troopers kept their composure and buckled down to work anew, with Gonzaga teaming up with Bautista and Bunag that enabled them to take a slim 22-21 lead.
After Foton tied things up anew at 22-apiece, Gonzaga scored off the block then Sabas made a quick hit, putting RC Cola-Army at match point.
An error off a Lady Trooper’s attack kept the Toplander alive at 22-24 but their hopes of a comeback failed to come to fruition as Tubino sealed the deal behind a booming kill.
“In-execute lang nila ang dapat i-execute,” said Reyes. “Hindi sila nag-panic at mas naging composed pa sila lalo sa nangyari. Mas nagiging pulido pa nga ang galaw nila.”
Maika Ortiz had 11 points, 10 of them off kills, while Danna Henson added 8 markers for Toplander, who will try to salvage any pride that’s left on them in their final 2 matches. — By Jerome Lagunzad