THE YEAR’S TOP TEAMSBy Jonas Panerio
The volleyball programs of the University of San Carlos (USC), University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) and Southwestern University (SWU) hogged all the headlines in the local inter-school volleyball scene as they won titles on different levels during the past year.
The men and women spikers of USC had a windfall of titles in the collegiate competition as they captured the crowns in the men and women’s division.
The women’s squad ended the three-year reign of SWU in emphatic fashion, winning 22-25, 25-13, 225-20, 25-23, as they leaned on the cohesive play of seasoned veterans Chona Gesulga, Suzette Panis, Kara Evangelista, Metosheena Bate, Irish Cortes and Theresa Aranas.
Meanwhile, the men’s team got stellar performances from Kennith Bensig, Clyde Flores and Mark Abut to drop the University of the Visayas, 25-27, 25-20, 25-16, 25-15.
In the high school division, the University of San Jose-Recoletos claimed both the boys’ and girls’ titles. The boy’s team upset the reigning champions University of Southern Philippines Foundation in dominant fashion, 25-22, 25-17, 25-16 while their girl’s team survived SWU in a five-set thriller, 26-24, 21-25, 25-21, 18-25, 15-6 to repeat as champions.
SWU came back to win the championship in the men’s class of the beach volleyball division, as Rommel Pepito and Relan Taneo came back from an opening set setback to down USPF’s John Ylanan and John Tormis, 19-21, 21-17, 15-12.
However, USPF paid the favor back in the women’s division as Apple Saraum and Rochelle Rica upset the heavily-favored pair of Danika Gendrauli and Rapril Aguilar, 20-22, 21-16, 15-13.
The young gals of SWU also gained some recognition for themselves as they topped the Central Visayas eliminations of the 10th Shakey’s Girls V-League, defeating the reigning champions Pajo National High School in the finals, 25-15, 25-23, 25-17. The win gave SWU a berth in the Tournament of Champions later this month in Manila.
“Overall, it was a good year for SWU’s volleyball program. The women’s team was not able to defend their crowns but the girls’ squad won several tournaments and the men’s team gave a good fight in spite of their rookie status,” said SWU athletic director, Ryan Aznar.