THE YEAR THAT WAS: Philippine Volleyball (Part 1)

Mark Escarlote on Dec 23, 2016 07:30 PM
THE YEAR THAT WAS: Philippine Volleyball (Part 1)
ABS-CBN Sports takes a look back at the year that was in Philippine volleyball.

From crowning new collegiate champions, emergence of new talents, changing of the guards among stars while some closing their colorful careers to stints in the international stage, 2016 truly was a remarkable year for Philippine volleyball.

From triumphs and jubilations to heartbreaking defeats and much-talked about controversies, the past year showed the elevation the sport's popularity to a whole new level rivaling that of basketball in this hoop-crazy nation.

ABS-CBN Sports takes a look back at the year that was in Philippine volleyball.

 

JANUARY

College of St. Benilde captured its breakthrough NCAA women's volleyball title. 

 

The year 2016 opened with the title-hungry San Sebastian College picking up from where it left off before the holiday break, goring its way to a 9-game sweep with Grethcel Soltones leading the way in the 91st NCAA women’s volleyball competition as the Lady Stags advanced in the Finals outright with a thrice-to-beat advantage. 

Former collegiate volleyball players Michele Gumabao and Aby Marano of De La Salle and Denden Lazaro of Ateneo de Manila were tapped as analysts in the first live broadcast of the NCAA since the league's return to ABS-CBN. Ex-DLSU libero Melissa Gohing also joined the broadcasting panel as an analyst.

SSC-R's sweep left Arellano University, Perpetual Help and College of St. Benilde battling it out in a knockout stepladder semifinals. The Lady Blazers, thirsty for its first-ever title since joining the league in 1998, fought its way to the Finals booting out the favored former grand slam champion Perpetual Help in a come-from-behind four-set win  before dethroning Arellano University in a shocking rout.

Unfazed by the Lady Stags’ huge series advantage, the Lady Blazers stunned SSC-R by winning Game 1 and Game 2.

Soltones drew inspiration from her second straight Most Valuable Player award and the heart-warming reunion with her mother during the awarding ceremonies to win Game 3 and force a decider.

But CSB won’t be denied with its date with destiny as the Lady Blazers captured the crown in four-sets – the breakthrough title of the Taft-based squad and a sweet parting gift to senior players Janine Navarro and Djanel Cheng.

Perpetual Help in the men’s division dragged Emilio Aguinaldo College out of the men’s throne with a dramatic win in Game 3. The Junior Altas also captured the high school championship against the Brigadiers.                    

The much-anticipated UAAP volleyball season opened late January after the league changed its school calendar.

Focus was on Alyssa Valdez’s last playing year and her mission to leave a winning legacy, a three-peat for the Ateneo de Manila Lady Eagles while the Blue Eagles were searching for a repeat.

Valdez prior to the opening of the UAAP season made a guest apperance in Kapamilya teleserye “And I love You So.”

The Lady Eagles survived its opening match over National University while the rookie trio of Isa Molde, Justine Dorog and Diana Carlos led the way for University of the Philippines’ opening day win against University of the East.

Veterans Jovelyn Gonzaga and Nene Bautista ruled Beach Volleyball Republic’s 2016 opening leg in Cabugao, Ilocos Sur.

 

FEBRUARY

De La Salle after a long wait crushed Ateneo De Manila in their first meeting in the UAAP Season 78. 

 

De La Salle saw its top spiker Ara Galang back in action after almost a year of being sidelined due to a left ACL tear she sustained in the semifinals of Season 77, the then graduating player powered the Lady Spikers to a dominating win over Far Eastern University.

Philippine Superliga started its third season with the staging of Invitational Conference.

University of the East’s Samuel Lelic suffered a harrowing season-ending left ankle injury in the Red Warriors' season opening loss to DLSU in the men’s division.

Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. announced the hosting of the Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship and the prestigious FIVB Women’s Club World Championship.

Grethcel Soltones and Alyssa Eroa gave SSC-R its third straight NCAA women’s beach volleyball title while Mapua’s Paul Cuzon and Philip Magalay captured the men’s crown.

Valdez’s AILYS guest appearance aired.

The Lady Spikers after the long-awaited rematch finally pulled off a long overdue revenge win over the Lady Eagles in a dominating fashion. It snapped Ateneo’s 24-game winning streak dating back from Season 76 and halted DLSU’s six-game losing slump to its bitter rival.

 

MARCH

Graduating player Alyssa Valdez was escorted out of The Arena in San Juan after Ateneo de Manila absorbed its first back-to-back losses in three seasons. 

 

Philippine Superliga announced its participation in the Thai Denmark Super League and named its 14-woman lineup where Rachel Anne Daquis was chosen as team captain.

The University of Sto. Tomas Tigresses closed the first round of UAAP women’s volleyball with a huge upset over the Lady Spikers.

UP followed suit to open the second round by handing Ateneo its first back-to-back losses in the past three seasons as the Lady Maroons ended their 17-game losing streak to the Lady Eagles.

Head coach Sherwin Meneses vacated his position midway into the season, leaving behind the struggling Adamson Lady Falcons to interim coach Domeng Custodio.   

The Lady Eagles received a bad news when middle blocker Maddie Madayag sustained a season-ending knee injury  during training.

Thai under-23 team Est Cola joined the PSL Invitational Final round.       

The PSL All-star team ended a winless campaign in the Thai Denmark Super League.

Former Ateneo hitter Fille Cainglet-Cayetano announced that she’s pregnant with her second child with TV director Lino Cayetano.

DLSU had its share of injury as graduating Cyd Demecillo suffered a knee sprain but was able to return to action after missing a few games.

The Lady Eagles booked its seventh straight Final Four appearance while DLSU punched its eighth consecutive semis stint. Both eventually secured a twice-to-beat semis advantage with Ateneo ending as the top seed after the eliminations.

 

 

(to be continued)

     

 

   

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