MANILA -- California Academy and Naga College Foundation pulled off thrilling upsets against their respective opponents to arrange a finals duel in the 2023 Shakey's Girls Volleyball Invitational League (GVIL), Saturday at the San Andres Gym.
Both squads won via reverse sweep, with Cal Academy stunning National U-Nazareth School 23-25, 25-23, 25-22, 27-25. Meanwhile, Naga claimed the scalp of Bacolod Tay Tung High School, 11-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-23.
California Academy and Naga will slug it out in the one-game championship next Saturday for all the marbles of the GVIL.
Casiey Dongallo (27) and Gelaica Gajero (24) combined for 51 points as the young Antipolo-based California spikers ousted the reigning UAAP juniors champion.
Jenalyn Umayam chipped in 10 points while Kizzie Madriago orchestrated the show with 21 sets for California, which scored three straight wins against the Lady Bullpups highlighted by a stellar comeback in the fourth set from a 21-24 deficit.
"It's a big win for us. It's a close match and could have been anybody's game but the girls stayed calm and in control. This Shakey's GVIL features the best of the best of the Philippines so we're happy that we're able to beat the best of UAAP. We're very proud of that," said coach Obet Vital.
Naga, behind Arah Ellah Panique's 27 points, shocked a local powerhouse in Bacolod en route to the final of the 16-team league.
Panique drew coverage from Sheena Sarie and Nathasza Bombita, who provided 15 and 12 points, respectively, as Naga swung back with guns ablaze after a blowout 11-25 loss in the opening salvo.
"Naka-tsamba na naman. Naunahan kami pero hindi bumigay. Hanggang sa huli, laban talaga. Napakahirap. Puhunan namin dito 'yung tapang. Sabi ko lang sa kanila, 'wag bibitaw'. Nung nakatabla na kami, bakit ngayon pa kayo bibitaw. Swerte na pumabor sa amin," said Naga coach Parley Tupaz.
Bienne Louise Bansil fired 20 points while Alexia Montoro had 22 for NU-NS and Bacolod, respectively, entering their bronze medal match also on Saturday.