Saving its best for last, powerhouse RC Cola-Army upstaged formidable guest team Est Cola in their winner-take-all showdown 25-23, 25-23, 14-25, 25-23 to claim the PSL Invitational crown before an appreciative Saturday crowd at the FilOil-Flying V Center.
The Lady Troopers took the fight straight into the Thais behind their potent attack and stayed resilient when pushed to their limit to complete the shocking victory that capped their triumphant comeback in the inter-club tourney.
Ace spiker Jovelyn Gonzaga, named the tournament MVP, finished with 19 points, 14 of them off kills and 4 from blocks, while the power-hitting Royse Tubino clustered 17 markers as they alternated in anchoring the Lady Troopers’ irrepressible attack en route to their fourth PSL title overall after taking a 3-conference hiatus.
“Mission accomplished. ‘Yung kasi talaga ang target namin,” beamed RC Cola-Army coach Kungfu Reyes.
“In the first two sets, nasunod ‘yung plano namin na kami ang mag-dictate ng tempo. Binagalan namin ‘yung pace ng laro tapos sila ang sumabay sa amin. Pagdating ng third set, binilisan nila. Pero nung fourth set, nakabalik kami. Nag-stick lang kami according to our gameplan,” he pointed out.
Aside from reclaiming its throne, RC Cola-Army somehow avenged the loss of the PSL All-Star squad to the Thais in the Thai-Denmark Super League in Bangkok last week.
Sasipaporn Janthawisut and Sutadta Chuewulim combined for 34 points, 30 off kills, but Est Cola, which won its first 2 matches in the final rounds in straight-sets, struggled to recover from a slow start and ultimately paid the price against the Lady Troopers. — By Jerome Lagunzad