S Luzon masters NCR, bags Shakey’s GVL crown

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Members of Southern Luzon, headed by MVP Alleiah Jan Malaluan (2), head coach Regine Diego and assistant mentor Raphael Guevara, pose after edging NCR for the Shakey’s Girls’ Volleyball League Season 13 crown. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Members of Southern Luzon, headed by MVP Alleiah Jan Malaluan (2), head coach Regine Diego and assistant mentor Raphael Guevara, pose after edging NCR for the Shakey’s Girls’ Volleyball League Season 13 crown. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Southern Luzon pounced on National Capital Region’s meltdown in the fourth set then wore down National Capital Region in the decider to hack out a 23-25, 25-16, 18-25, 26-24, 15-11 victory and capture the Shakey’s Girls’ Volleyball League Season 13 national crown at the Cuneta Astrodome late Thursday.

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The S Luzon bets, represented by the De La Salle-Zobel Lipa mainstays, survived five match points as they racked up five hits in row to overhaul a 19-24 deficit in the fourth and complete their shut out of the Big City bets in that stretch by winning two more points to force the decider.

With the momentum on their side, the La Salle spikers never let up in the fifth and went on to pound out the four-point win and snatch the crown from the reigning UAAP juniors champions National U Lady Bullpups, whom they also nipped in three in the elims of the league sponsored by Shakey’s.

Alleiah Jan Malaluan and Jamie Margaret Frago took charge in the fifth set with their power hits then the rest backed them up with a gritty floor and net defense as Southern Luzon repeated over NCR to nail the coveted crown in the league sponsored by Shakey’s.

Frago wound up with 14 hits while Malaluan scored five attack points and went on to bag the MVP honors in the league organized by Metro Sports headed by Freddie Infante and backed by Asics, Mikasa and My Phone.

Southern Luzon also nipped NCR, represented by the National U squad, in three to sweep the Pool B elims then thwarted Southern Mindanao, 25-22, 25-23, in the semis to arrange a title face-off with NCR, which eased out last year’s finals tormentor Western Visayas, 25-22, 25-19, in their side of the Final Four.

The victory also netted Southern Luzon a berth in the first-ever Shakey’s GVL International Championship set next month and which will feature five foreign teams, according to Metro Sports’ and tournament director Johanz Buenvenida.

With Faith Nisperos and Michaela Belen on the firing end, NCR looked headed for a big payback when it took the opening set in close fashion. But Southern Luzon struck back with a dominant performance in the second, only to trail again as the Big City bets countered with a seven-point romp in the third and moved within a set from clinching the crown.

Western visayas took third place honors with a 25-20, 25-23 victory over Southern Mindanao.

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