RC-Cola Army defeated the young EST Cola squad from Thailand, 25-23, 25-23, 14-25, 25-23, to win the 2016 Philippine Superliga Invitational women’s volleyball tournament champion at The Arena in San Juan.
EST Cola, a team composed of junior and under-23 members of the Thai national team, finished with a 2-1 card in the invitational tournament. Some members of the team had already seen action in our country when we hosted the Asian U-23 Women’s Volleyball Championship in May last year.
Skipper Jovelyn Gonzaga led the Lady Troopers’ onslaught on offense and defense as she scored 19 points built on 14 kills, four blocks, and one ace. Open hitters Honey Royse Tubino and Rachel Anne chipped in 17 and 10 markers, respectively. The three took turns in punishing the defense of the Thai team. On the other side, Sasipaporn Janthawisut finished with 18 points, while teammate Sutadta Chuewulim had 16.
Army raced to an early two-set win before EST Cola came alive in the third frame. The first two sets were very close before Army made some key blocks at the net to stop the powerful hitters of Thailand. In the third set, the Thai squad turned the tides in their favor to extend the match to a fourth frame. Army then regrouped with the savy playmaking and leadership of veteran Tina Salak.
Gonzaga was hailed as the player of the game. She was also awarded as the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.
RC Cola-Army swept the three-day, round robin final round for their fourth championship, and their first since skipping the last three conferences.