MANILA, Philippines - Vietsovpetro shut out Army in the fifth set behind its two Russian hitters and completed its fightback from two sets down to snatch an 18-25, 14-25, 25-22, 25-23, 15-8 victory and capture the V-League Invitational Club Championship at The Arena in San Juan yesterday.
Anactaxia Trernai took over in a fiery charge in the decider, accounting for six of the first 10 points that the Vietnamese took in a rather straightforward fashion as the Troopers lost the ferociousness they showed in overpowering their fancied rivals in the first two sets.
The hosts failed to recover from that 0-10 hole in the race-to-15 fifth set although Rachel Daquis and Joanne Bunag tried to rally the Troopers to no avail as Tam Minh Hoang and Loan Thi Tran stepped up to deliver the last two points, including Tran’s spike that slipped past the hands of Mary Jean Balse.
Vietnam, which also beat Army in three in the elims of the four-team tournament sponsored by Shakey's Pizza, thus swept all its four matches, including one that mattered most.
"After we lost the first two sets, we did not stop. Everybody worked hard and they gave everything," said the 24-year-old Trernai, who also took her hat off to the Troopers.
"The Philippine Army team is interesting to play. Their setter (Tina Salak) is good, she has great passes and she saw our flaws," added Trernai, who took the Best Spiker plum.
Trernai, who led Vietsovpetro's comeback in the third set, wound up with 24 points, including 22 attacks, while fellow Russian import Ekaterina Martynova backed her up with 17 points, mostly from running attacks coming off the back of the team's setter.
Martynova later bagged the MVP honors in the tournament organized by Sports Vision and backed by Accel and Mikasa.
It was a sorry loss for the Troopers, who had appeared to have pinned down the Viets with their heads-up play in the first two sets, which they won in convincing fashions. But after Trernai and Martynova imposed their will in the third, the Shakey's V-League Season 8 second conference champions wavered and reeled with botched plays and errors.
Earlier, Malaysia struggled past Ateneo in the first two sets but stamped its class in the third to essay a 25-22, 25-21, 25-13 victory and clinch third place honors.