LINGAYEN, Pangasinan, Philippines – Defending champion Melanie Carrera and former Batang Pinoy standout Juvelyn Castillo of Team Pangasinan weathered the challenge put up by La Salle-Dasmariñas spikers Bea Canillas and Jennifer Zarate, 21-17, to earn a spot in the semifinal round in the second leg of the 2014 Petron Ladies’ Beach Volleyball Tournament at the sand courts of the provincial capitol grounds here.
Carrera and Castillo, who finished the elimination round with three wins and a loss, ended up in second spot behind University of the East alumnae spikers Abigail Escandor and Gina Alanguilan, who later handed the two Pangasinense spikers their only loss in Group A following a 21-16 triumph.
Castillo, a member of the girls’ volleyball team which won the 2012 Batang Pinoy indoor title, and Carrera set up a semifinal showdown with Philippine Merchant Marine School teammates Nao Sagawa and Ana Nicole Banas, who topped their Group B assignment on a better tiebreak record over La Salle-Dasmariñas’ Aileen Abuel and Regina Tungol.
Abuel, who now works as fitness specialist, and Tungol, now a law student at San Beda College, assured themselves of a semifinal slot against UE’s Escandor and Alanguilan, after they bounced back from a 16-21 loss to Sagawa and Banas on the second day. Charging past a 19-all deadlock, Tungol and Abuel also turned back University of Luzon’s Marife Diaz and Mary Joy Marcellones, 21-19.
In taking second place, Carrera, who works at the engineering office of the Pangasinan Provincial Government, and Castillo, an incoming hospitality management sophomore at PSU, banked on several gutsy plays to earn their last three points against La Salle-Dasma’s Canillas and Zarate.
Carrera took charge at the front as they broke an 18-all deadlock with her drop shots and jump spikes to score the game’s last three points.
“My partner was tense but we kept our focus,” said Carrera, who is seeking her second straight crown after she and Cassandra Lleda took the title last year.
UE’s Escandor, now a shipping management student at the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy, and Alanguilan, who is taking a break from her job as a recreation specialist from Jeddah, endured the hot midday sun as they kept PMMS-2’s Clarisse Banares and Jaynilyn Banares, 21-12, at bay.
In their fight for the top Group A seat with Carrera and Castillo, Escandor hit three points on a drop shot and an ace, sending UE alumnae ahead on a 7-3 lead.
Another ace from Escandor saw the Amazons erecting a 13-8 edge. She came off with another drop shot as they pulled away by six, 19-13.
The two-day spikefest was held during the province’s annual celebration of the Pista’y Dayat Festival, which commemorates the bountiful harvest and abundant fishing from the sea.
The tournament is also backed by Mikasa balls, the provincial government of Pangasinan and Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil.