CEBU CITY, Philippines – Team Maria’s were just too hot to handle as they rallied behind the unstoppable exploits of Sisi Rondina, to wither the opponents’ ad bag the 2020 Mayor Edgardo C. Labella Volley Cup Women’s title Sunday, Jan. 12, at the Cebu City Sports Institute in Sawang Calero.
Team Maria’s defeated the hard-fighting Harbor Pilot Oroqueta Lady Dockers in a very explosive and entertaining 3-2 decision win that last one hour and 32 minutes.
With her powerful smashes and complemented with the tight defense of her teammates, Sisi Rondina capped the come-back of Team Maria’s who were on the brink of losing the championship after being down 0-2, before waking up and gave the equally talented but tentative Lady Dockers the beatings in the last three sets.
Harbor Pilot had Rondina and company in check to win the first two sets 25-18; 25-17.
However, the Lady Dockers failed to sustain the momentum while allowing Team Maria’s to recover and dropped an equally devastating 25-17 and 25-16 wins to forge the deciding fifth set.
With its stamina waning and its spikes no longer had the stings, the Lady Dockers relied mostly on their veteran smarts and sheer will power to give Team Maria’s a tough fifth set before yielding, 15-12.
But all they could do was to tie the game at 9-all and stay within 12-14 before Jusabelle Brillo hammered the winning point that gave Team Maria’s the title and the cash prize of P30,000.00.
The Lady Dockers claimed the P20,000 as the prize for the losing finalists.
For her efforts that lead to the victory of the erstwhile beatable team, Rondina was named the tournament MVP and received an additional P2,500 cash prize while young upstart Ma Tes Gloria of the University of Southern Philippines Foundation Lady Panthers was named the Best Libero which also earned her a P2,500 cash prize.
USPF, on the other hand, won the third-place finish after beating the Southwestern University-Phinma Lady Cobras 3-1.
The Lady Panthers headed for a strong finish by beating the Lady Cobras in the first two sets 25-18 and 25-18 before SWU-Phinma rebounded with a 25-15 win on the third set. However, USPF regained its poise and went for the kill on the fourth set following a 25-15 decision to win the P15,000 cash prize.
In the Men’s Division, Sports Yu was also pushed to the limit by the CESAFI Men’s champions SWU-Phinma Cobras following a 3-2 win to bag the P30,000 cash prize.
SWU opened the championship by winning the opening set, 25-21 but Sports Yu came back roaring by taking the second frame 25-17 to even the match.
The third set was the barometer of the game with Sports Yu which parade two 6-foot spikers ran away with a 26-24 victory. However, the Cobras managed to take down the opposing squad with a 25-16 victory that sent the game into the deciding fifth set.
However, the experience and end game composure of Sports Yu prevailed as they defeated the youthful Cobrs 15-10 to win the title.
The game took an hour and 57 minutes to finish.
Sports Yu setter Royet Varga was named tournament MVP while Som Kuthaissong was the Best Libero. Each had a P2,500 cash prize and a trophy for their respective individual feat.
The finals protagonists came as surprise as heavily favored Mischka, which was unbeaten in five elimination round games was stunned by SWU-Phinma 3-2 in the Semifinal round last Jan. 11.
The reigning NCAA Men’s Volleyball MVP Joebert Almodiel-led Mischka had a strong showing in the opening sets beating the youthful Cobras 25-22 and 25-22.
SWU-Phinma recovered and took the next two sets 25-21 and 26-24.
The deciding set went down the wire and needed four slides before SWU proved to be the steadier team following a 19-17 victory to march to grab the ticket to the finals.
Sports Yu meanwhile re-asserted its dominance over the Fiesta People/Cebu Institute of Technology-University following a 3-0 win in the other semifinal game; 25-23, 25-22; 28-26.
Mischka won the third-place trophy following a 4-1 win over the Fiesta People; 25-18, 25-19, 25-27. 25-20. /RCM