By ADRIAN STEWART CO
The Bacoor City Strikers Metro Land Builders Corp. drew first blood in the Maharlika Pilipinas Volleyball Association (MPVA) league after a 25-17, 25-13, 23-25, 25-22 beating of the Negros ICC Blue Hawks in the finals’ Game 1 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City on Saturday night, December 16.
Setter Jhasmine Sapin displayed her efficient ball distribution as she ended up with 16 excellent sets to go with two points as the Strikers took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three title series.
Sapin activated the offense of Strikers stars Mary Rhose Dapol and Shaina Omipon with her timely tosses as they exacted revenge on their elimination round defeat to the Blue Hawks.
“Mas gigil kami this game kasi tinalo kami ng Negros nung elimination round, so ito ‘yung parang pambawi namin sa kanila,” Sapin said in a post-game interview after being named Player of the Game.
The Strikers could emerge as the inaugural MPVA champion when they repeat against the Blue Hawks in Game 2 on their homecourt at STRIKE Gym in Bacoor, Cavite on Tuesday night, December 19.
“Mahalaga sa amin na nanalo dito sa Game 1 kasi may chance na kami na kunin ‘yung championship sa homecourt namin,” Sapin said.
“Mas masarap din mag-champion kapag nasa harap kami ng supporters namin,” she added.
Meanwhile, the Marikina Lady Shoemasters took an early lead in the battle for the bronze series after a 25-19, 25-16, 25-21 Game 1 victory over the Rizal XentroMall Golden Coolers.
Justine Rebleza finished with 14 points, all coming from attacks, to be named Player of the Game as the Lady Shoemasters moved closer to bagging the bronze medal after a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
According to the former Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws standout, the Lady Shoemasters are determined to salvage the bronze medal after bowing to the Negros ICC Blue Hawks in the semifinals.
“Humuhugot kami ng inspirasyon dun sa pagkatalo namin sa semis, kasi ‘yung pinakita namin dun [Games 2 and 3], hindi talaga ‘yun ‘yung laro namin eh,” Rebleza said in a post-game interview./ASC, WDJ