Agilas soar to smother Lady Altas, near quarters

The Philippine Star

Posted at Apr 23 2014 08:58 AM | Updated as of Apr 23 2014 04:58 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Davao Lady Agilas rallied from two sets down to frustrate reigning NCAA champion Perpetual Help, 23-25, 24-26, 25-18, 25-20, 17-15, and assure itself of at least a playoff for the last quarterfinal berth in the Shakey’s V-League Season 11 First Conference at The Arena in San Juan City yesterday.

May Shiel Agton and Venus Flores took over for the Lady Agilas as they unloaded a combined 41-hit production, including 40 kills, as the Mindanao-based squad continued to surprise the field with their grit and poise to post their second straight win in Group B.

Agton delivered the clincher for Davao, scoring the last two hits that shattered the 15-all count, including a block and a smash that finished off the Lady Altas, who played without ace hitter Mary Joyce Turbino and coach Sammy Acaylar, who were with the national team in the Asian Women’s Club Championship in Thailand.

St. Benilde took the last quarters berth in Group A as it swept ousted St. Louis U, 25-13, 25-14, 25-20, to join Arellano, Adamson and Ateneo in the next round.

Jeanette Panada fired 18 hits while Therese Veronas backed her up with 11 points as the Lady Blazers evened their card at 2-2 while dealing the Baguio-based spikers their fourth straight setback.

Davao, which kicked off its late campaign in the season-opening conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s with a 25-20, 25-19, 20-25, 25-22 win over Far Eastern U last Sunday, also drew 14 hits from Jocemer Tapic and 10 points from Angel Mae Antipuesto.

The Agilas need just to win one of their last three games to join the defending champion National U Lady Bulldogs, unbeaten in four starts, in the next round.

“Our goal is to make the quarterfinals and see what happens from there,” said Davao coach Shane Alagao in Filipino.

The Agilas hope to ride the momentum of their back-to-back victories as they face the Lady Bulldogs, led by the vaunted twin towers 6-4 Dindin and 6-6 Jaja Santiago in a match that could gauge how far Davao could go in the tournament backed by Mikasa, Accel and Lion Tiger Mosquito Coil.

“NU is one of the strongest teams here, if not the strongest. It will be a test for us as a team because they’ll be the strongest we’ll be facing in this tournament so far,” said Alagao.

The Lady Altas, which came into the tournament oozing with confidence after winning the NCAA crown, bowed out of the quarters race with a 0-4 card.

The Las Pinas-based spikers were led by pretty Abigael Praca’s 14 hits and Norie Jane Diaz’s 18.