Kobe Shinwa, Cignal share PSL Invitational Conference crown

Kobe Shinwa, Cignal share PSL Invitational Conference crown
Cignal emerged as PSL Invitational Conference co-champion with Japan guest team Kobe Shinwa University.

Kobe Shinwa Women’s University recovered from a third-set meltdown to register a 25-17, 25-19, 21-25, 25-18 victory over Petron and conquer the title of the 2017 Belo Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference Saturday night at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

On the same note, Cignal emerged as co-champion following an emphatic 25-20, 25-18, 25-22 win over Foton while Generika-Ayala crushed Cocolife, 25-18, 26-24, 26-24, to settle for the fourth place.

Petron, which waxed hot with an unbeaten streak in the classification phase, came up with a third-place finish after it surrendered a four-set decision to Cignal in the opening match of the final round Thursday.

Jovelyn Gonzaga of Cignal defended her Most Valuable Player title while Frances Molina of Petron and Rachel Anne Daquis of Cignal were the Best Outside Hitters; Chichiro Fujiwara of Kobe Shinwa and Maica Morada of Cignal were the Best Middle Blockers; Mary Grace Berte of Foton was the Best Opposite Spiker; Chie Saet of Cignal was the Best Setter; Jheck Dionela of Cignal was the Best Libero in this season-opening tourney.

Mariko Fujiwara delivered 13 kills to finish with 14 points while Kana Edamatsu had 13 hits for the Japanese squad, which melted under pressure from the gallant home squad before engineering a fierce fightback in the fourth set.

“We had fun facing your team,” said Japanese coach Kiyokazu Yamamoto. “We hope you learned something from us the same way we learned something from you.”

Earlier, Patty Orendain fired 13 attacks to finish with 15 points while Gen Casugod had 13 markers laced with three aces to underscore the Lifesavers’ dominance at the attack zone, 43-29, and service box, 6-2.

Despite the impressive showing, Generika-Ayala coach Francis Vicente said the season-opening tourney served as an eye-opener on what they need to work on and improve by the time the major battles – the All-Filipino Conference and the Grand Prix – unfurl later in the year.

“Actually, we need to train more,” said Vicente, who is all set to guide the national women’s team to the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Club Championship and the 29th Southeast Asian Games this August.

“Our performance in this tournament was on and off. There were times that we’re playing good, there were times that we’re playing sluggish. That’s what we need to develop. We need to have a killer instinct. But the team itself is already strong.”

Vicente added that the vast improvement of Casugod, his team captain who erupted for career-high 25 points in their classification round battle against Sta. Lucia, is a major development as well as their blocking and floor defense.

But still, they need to develop their chemistry, the camaraderie that would make new recruits Angeli Araneta, Patty Orendain, Bia General and Carol Cerveza embrace their winning philosophy.

“We need to develop the chemistry and camaraderie with one another,” said Vicente, whose wards had a good workout with the Japanese squad the other day.

“We need to put on the court whatever we learned in our friendly match with Kobe Shinwa and in the entire conference. We have to work on all of our lapses to prepare us for the All-Filipino Conference.”

Michele Gumabao and Wensh Tiu delivered eight points apiece for the Asset Managers, who settled for a fifth place finish after clobbering the Lady Realtors in their classification match last Friday. 

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