An epic Easter Sunday opening game bannered the Spiker’s Turf First Season Conference as the Cagayan Valley Rising Suns nailed a come-from-behind win over Champion Infinity, 23-25, 24-26, 25-21, 25-22, 16-14, on Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Arena, San Juan.
Cagayan Valley coach Nes Pamilar said nothing but praises to Ateneo Men’s Volleyball Finals MVP Marck Espejo, who spearheaded the Rising Suns with 24 points.
“Si Marck madaling sabihan at mag adjust at kahit sikat na mababa parin” said Palimar.
National University standout Peter Torres also dished 16 points to back up Cagayan Valley’s opening day blast.
Champion Infinity started strong as they took advantage of Cagayan’s premature errors to put a starter gap ahead the Rising Suns.
Cagayan Valley bounced back early in the second set as Espejo triggered a rally to wrest the lead, but Champion figured out Cagayan’s offense glitches and made decisive stops to snatch the second set.
Down by 2 sets, the Rising Suns rallied steadfast in the third set and gelled the team chemistry they needed courtesy of NU standouts Berlin Paglinawan, Peter Torres and Ateneo’s Rex Intal and Espejo, as Cagayan easily notched the third set.
With much momentum still on its side modway through the fourth period, Cagayan Valley never looked back and showed great floor defense and blocking to push the game to a decider set.
The Espejo-Torres duo showered relentless attacks past the Champion net defenders to open a 9-5 lead on the fifth set.
Cagayan is already a point away from sealing the win, but Champion was able to launch a 6-0 run and tied the scores at 14 due to the Rising Suns’ series of miscues.
Champion Infinity had a service error giving Cagayan a one point advantage, 15-14, and Espejo finished the game with an attack to close the set joust at 16-14.
Cagayan Valley mentor Pamilar was open about the minor team chemistry problem that slightly contributed to the see-sawing result of the game.
“Last week at kahapon pa lang kami nakapag practice at nag aadjust pa kami” noted coach Nes Pamilar.
Meanwhile, Joven Camaganakan provided the spark for Champion Infinity with 26 points while Christopher Antonio added 13 points.