By ADRIAN STEWART CO
Bacolod Tay Tung High School Thunderbolts clinched the crown in the 52nd Araw ng Probinsya sa Siquijor Open Tournament women’s volleyball category over the weekend.
The Thunderbolts bucked the odds to defeat Cebu-based FTW (For The Win) squad in five sets, 25-20, 18-25, 26-28, 25-18, 15-12, in the one-game finals held at the Dogukanan Sports Arena & Capital Square.
Jihan Isabelle Chuatico, Jothea Ramos and Ana Francessca Hermosura stepped up for the Ian Macariola-mentored Thunderbolts in the tightly-contested gold medal match.
Alexia Marie Montoro also continued her fine play in the tournament as she has fully recovered from an injury she suffered when Bacolod Tay Tung participated in the Shakey’s Super League.
According to Macariola, it was a huge test for the youth-laden Thunderbolts as they were the only high school squad that participated in the two-day competition.
“I am glad kasi hindi biro ang mga kalaban namin dito, especially ‘yun nakalaban namin sa finals, kasi ‘yung team nila composed of professional players sa Cebu,” Macariola said.
“Maganda ‘yung nilalaro ng team, particularly si Jihan, Jothea and Ana, while si Alexia naman bumabalik na sa dati niyang laro since she has slowly recovered from her injury,” he added.
The Thunderbolts started the tournament with a loss to the University of San Carlos squad, but they bounced back with a straight set win over the University of San Jose-Recoletos to qualify for the semis.
In the Final Four, the Thunderbolts prevailed in three sets against fellow Negrense squad, University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos, to punch a ticket to the finals.
Also part of the Thunderbolts team are Alijah Marie Ysulan, Patricia Grace Hiponia, Camila Amor Bartolome, Rhea Mae Tomas, Joenil Anne Ramos, Dona Mae de Leon, Rhose Viane Almendralejo, Jan Rose Bulak, and Brianna Nikola Ang./ASC, WDJ