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Cagayan Valley deals Bingo Milyonaryo its second loss & Karla Bello orchestrates Petron win over PLDT-MyDSL
by rick olivares
On paper the talent-rich Bingo Milyonaryo team of Ronald Dulay should be taking names and kicking butt. But after two playdates of the newly launched Philippine Super Liga, they find themselves in a 0-2 hole in the single round robin format of the newly formed pro league.
Cagayan Valley, with only three players left from its inaugural line-up that competed in the Philippine National Games, showed grit, exceptional digging, resilience, and defense at the net to defeat BMO in five sets - 16-25, 25-18, 20-25, 25-15, 15-13 – last Wednesday at the San Juan Arena to go up to 2-0 in the liga standings.
After falling behind by a huge margin in the first set, Cagayan Valley reeled off six straight points to put some pressure on BMO. Stephanie Mercado closed out the set with a check ball off Liza De Ramos.
Cagayan Valley, as coached by longtime FEU coach Nestor Pamilar, gained confidence by their late stand. They continued well into the second set where they stunned BMO with their receptions and digging that frustrated the attacks of Ivy Remulla, Mic Mic Laborte, and Michelle Gumabao.
After a mishit by Gumabao gave Cagayan Valley a 12-11 lead in the second set, Jennifer Manzano followed that up with a service ace and Pamilar’s team never looked back.
Wendy Semana served for the equalizer as BMO misfired on their attack, 25-18.
The Ronald Dulay-coached BMO found its game once more in the third set behind Michelle Gumabao, It was a tight game in the early goings until a spate of errors hurt CV allowing BMO to build a small lead that they nursed until set’s end.
Their backs against the wall once more, CV roared back in the fourth set to take a 21-10 lead behind their defense. They cruised to a 25-15 win to set up a fifth and deciding set.
The smaller Cagayan Valley side drew strong performances from Joy Cases and Joy Benito who along with Wendy Semana were all over the court denying BMO.
In the final set, CV looked to run away with their second win after posting an early 9-4 lead. But BMO showed that they were just as resilient when they forged a tie at 10-all. CV looked like they were all set to crumble after Benito missed a shot to give BMO an 11-10 lead. However, a dink by Sandra De Los Santos evened up matters.
A Semana service error and another mishit by Benito saw the match level at 13-all once more. But Benito, the former San Sebastian Lady Stag who won five titles during her stay in Recto with Roger Gorayeb, redeemed herself with a check ball off Remulla.
Benito found a hole in the defense to give Cagayan Valley a hard-earned 15-13 win for their second win of the tournament. Benito and Cases each scored 18 points while Gumabao scored 19 in a losing effort.
The hardluck BMO team fell for the second straight game each time after taking the first set. During the opening day of the Super Liga, BMO lost to PLDT-MyDSL in four sets who were led by Pau Soriano and Rosemarie Vargas who each scored 18 points.
“Nabuo lang yung team namin tatlong araw bago magsimula yung press launch ng Super Liga,” revealed Pamilar. “At tatlo lang ang naiwan sa line-up ng Cagayan Valley. Obvious na kulang pa sa chemistry ang lahat ng team. Pero sabi ko, depensa lang muna tayo. Yun ang sinasabi nila na, take it from there’.”
Pamilar couldn’t resist a dig at the star-studded line-up of BMO: “Hindi sa stars ‘to. Tungkol ‘to sa teamwork.”
The much-ballyhooed merger of the Ateneo and UST women’s volleyball teams to form the Petron squad in the Philippine Super Liga flopped its debut, losing via three set sweep to the Venus Bernal-led Cignal squad on Opening Day.
In its second match of the tourney, head coach Vilet Ponce De Leon gave former Ateneo Lady Eagles setter Karla Bello the start (Rhea Dimaculangan was unavailable) and she responded by orchestrating Petron’s attack that saw Maika Ortiz, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, and Angeli Tabaquero conjuring memories of they heyday with UST in the UAAP. The trio combined for 48 of their team’s points to lead Petron passed PLDT-MyDSL in four sets, 25-22, 19-25, 25-17, 25-19.
But it was the diminutive and winsome Bello who fueled their team with her playmaking, drop shots, and blocking at the net. Bello scored seven points and had 28 of the 29 excellent sets of her team. She also scored two aces.
“Karla played a very mature game,” glowed Ponce De Leon after the match. “Maizo, Ortiz, and (Gretchen) Ho were very good in defense especially at the net but Karla did everything to help us.”
Petron frustrated PLDT-MyDSL, opening day conquerors of Bingo Milyonaryo. They looked to make a game of it in the third set behind the aggressive game of Pau Soriano. But Petron came back in the fourth set and re-asserted their will on the game.
Bello set up Ortiz for a thunderous spike then followed that by finding Tabaquero on the left side for another score. Bello capped her heroics with an ace for a 7-3 lead.
For match point, she set up Gretchen Ho for a check ball off Rosemarie Vargas.
In the first game of the day’s tripleheader, TMS-Army defeated Cignal in four sets 25-22, 25-15, 25-27, 25-18, to go to 1-1, the same as its victim. Former Adamson Lady Falcon Nerissa Bautista led TMS-Army with 16 points while Venus Bernal scored 24 for Cignal.