Bacoor, Negros stay alive, force do-or-die in 2023 MPVA Semifinals

Facing elimination, both the Bacoor City Strikers Metro Land Builders Corp and Negros Blue Hawks took home victories to stay alive in the 2023 Maharlika Pilipinas Volleyball Association (MPVA) Semifinals.

After dropping Game 1 of their respective best-of-three series last Saturday, Bacoor and Negros bounced back less than 24 hours later to stave off elimination and force do-or-die Game 3 matches. 

Bacoor lives to fight another day, defeating Rizal in straight sets in Game 2 of their best-of-three Semifinals series. | Image Courtesy of the MPVA (Roman Prospero).

In the first match of the day at the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta (UPHSD) Gym in Las Piñas, Bacoor made quick work of the Rizal Xentromall Golden Coolers, defeating them in straight sets 25-18, 25-12, 25-22, to even their semifinal series and force a rubber match. Unlike in Game 1 of the semifinals the previous day, where they squandered a two-set lead and suffered a reverse sweep defeat against Rizal, Bacoor finished the job and swept the Golden Coolers, to the delight of their supporters.

Reigning NCAA Rookie of the Year Shaila Omipon led the Strikers with 16 points on 14 attacks and 2 service aces and was named as the Queen of the Court of the match, while Mary Rhose Dapol added 15 points built on 13 attacks and 2 service aces. Charmaine Ocado contributed 10 points, while Razel Aldea chipped in with 8 points. The win was Bacoor’s first of the 2023 MPVA season against Rizal, who also defeated them back in the preliminary round in reverse sweep fashion. 

The Negros Blue Hawks also stave off elimination after a heart-pounding win over Marikina in Game 2 of the Semifinals. | Image Courtesy of the MPVA (Roman Prospero).

Later in the day, top seed Negros also lived to fight another day, defeating the Marikina Lady Shoemasters in five thrilling sets, 26-24, 23-25, 25-19, 25-27, 15-12, in Game 2 of their best-of-three Semifinals series. A day after suffering just their second loss of the tournament against a rejuvenated Marikina squad, the Blue Hawks regrouped and survived a hard-fighting Lady Shoemasters team that was determined to end the series and advance to the Finals. 

Even though they were dragged to a fifth set after a surprising Marikina comeback in Set 4, Negros recovered in the deciding set, with Reyann Cañete and Angel Habacon taking over to help the team extend their season. Cañete finished with a game-high 23 points built on 16 attacks, 1 block, and 6 service aces to earn Queen of the Court honors, while Habacon added 16 points on 16 attacks. Gelah Marie Lopez also scored 16 points for the Blue Hawks, with 13 points coming off attacks to go with 2 blocks, and 1 service ace, while Christine Apan and MA. Audrei Pagayanan chipped in with 7 points apiece to help the top-seeded Blue Hawks stay alive. 

Coach Edgar Barroga and the rest of Negros will be tested once more against a resurgent Marikina squad. | Image Courtesy of the MPVA (Roman Prospero).

All eyes will now be on Game 3 of the two Semifinals series, which is set this Wednesday, December 13, at the Ynares Center in Antipolo, Rizal. Negros and Marikina face off in the first match at 3:30 p.m., while Bacoor and Rizal clash in the second match, which is set at 6:00 p.m., with the winners advancing to the best-of-three Finals and moving closer to becoming the MPVA’s inaugural champions. 

For more updates on the Maharlika Pilipinas Volleyball Association’s matches, scores, and schedules, follow Plus Network or the MPVA’s official Facebook page.

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