CALIFORNIA Precision Sports (CPS) was a class act while De La Salle Lipa had to go the extra mile to rule the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) Under-18 Championships at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum on Sunday.
CPS made Antipolo City proud by winning the girls’ crown of the tournament revived by the PNVF at the expense of Gracel Christian College Foundation (GCC) of Taguig City, 25-14, 25-16, 25-18.
De La Salle Lipa, on the other hand, was extended to a fourth set before booking a 23-25, 25-20, 25-13, 25-15 victory over Laguna team Santa Rosa City, which has started to establish itself as one of the county’s volleyball hotbeds.
Middle blocker Jenalyn Umayam had 18 kills, two service aces and a block for 21 points, while Most Valuable Player and Best Outside Hitter Casiey Monique Dongallo peppered GCC’s porous defense with 15 hits and Joyce Soliven contributed nine points on marked with three service aces for CPS.
But CPS coach Obet Vital made special mention to his team’s veteran Kizzie Madriaga—named the tournament’s Best Setter—for providing stability when it mattered most.
“She [Madriaga] is the quarterback of our team, she knows where to give the ball,” Vital said. “She delivers and scores well. Definitely, she did an outstanding job whoever was in the floor with her, she’s a playmaker.”
The CPS girls won the crown undefeated in seven matches beginning from the pool play. They also didn’t give up a set in their title run.
PNVF Ramon “Tats” Suzara was impressed on how the teams played in the three-weekend tournament supported by the Philippine Olympic Committee, Philippine Sports Commission, PLDT, Rebisco and Akari.
“It proves that volleyball is very much alive in the grassroots and the way these boys and girls played, Philippine volleyball has a big mass base for future members of the national team,” said Suzara, who also congratulated technical director Yul Benosa and competition director Oliver Mora for successfully organizing the tournament.
A total of 36 teams—20 girls and 16 boys—played in the tournament, which will be preceded by the PNVF Under-23 Championships in August also at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.
Suzara awarded the medals and trophies to the podium winners along with Philippine Sports Commission Commissioner Olivia “Bong” Coo and PNVF vice president Ricky Palou, secretary-general Donaldo Caringal, board member Karl Jeffrey Chan, Benosa and Christian Gopez, founder and coach of Fil-Am Nation Select, a worldwide platform for Filipino athletes.
De La Salle Lipa coach Pedro Perez Jr. banked on team captain Kris Gabriel Hernandez who led the team with 22 points on 18 hits, two blocks and two service aces.
“This championship is really a dream come true for us, being the PNVF’s first ever U-18 champion,” said Perez, De La Salle Lipa’s coach for the past 25 years. “We have been dreaming about this for a long time…to play in this kind of tournament here in Manila.”
Kirby Lance Carurucan and Patrick Jade Reyes got 13 and 12 points, respectively, for De La Salle Lipa.
Hernandez was named boys’ MVP trophy and Best Outside Hitter, joining the other individual awardees—Second Best Hitter Neil Aldrin Catap of third-placer Justice CM Palma High School, First Middle Blocker Curt Jan Guillermo and Best Setter Clark Dingle of Santa Rosa City, Second Best Middle locker Jury Cureg of Mayamot National High Sschool-Antipolo City and Best Libero Jeremi Pierre Cuenca and Best Opposite Hitter Patrick Jade Reyes of De La Salle Lipa.
The other girls individual awardees were Second Best Outside Hitter Shane Andrei Dimaano and Second Best Middle Blocker Raizah Nicole Mamailao of bronze medalist De La Salle Lipa and Best Middle Blocker Rianne Margaret Bedural, Best Libero Lavhinia Jean Sasondoncillo and Best Opposite Hitter Sherrie Acosta of GCC.