Almost a month into the inaugural season of the Maharlika Pilipinas Volleyball Association (MPVA) and the contenders are starting to pull away from the rest of the pack. After 11 game days and 28 matches, the round-robin stage of the 2023 MPVA season has concluded, with all 8 teams facing each other at least once and playing 7 games each.
After the latest set of matches yesterday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo, Rizal, which was also the site of the MPVA’s historic first game day last October 22, the Negros Blue Hawks and Rizal Xentromall Golden Coolers have emerged as the leaders of the tournament so far. After 7 matches, Negros and Rizal are tied at the top of the team standings with identical 6-1 win-loss records, although the Blue Hawks find themselves at the first spot with 19 points compared to just 16 points for the Golden Coolers.
Negros has won five consecutive matches to vault to the top of the group, with their latest being a 25-20, 25-18, 25-21 straight sets victory over the Marikina Lady Shoemasters yesterday. Angel Habacon continued to impose her will against opponents, finishing with a game-high 15 points on 15 attacks, while team captain Charlotte Tutanes had 5 points and 21 excellent sets and was named as the Queen of the Court of the match.
A total of 7 players scored at least 5 points for Negros in their win over Marikina, flashing the depth of the team made up of players from Immaculada Concepcion College and the San Beda Lady Red Spikers coached by veteran mentor Edgar Barroga. Before the victory over the Lady Shoemasters, the Blue Hawks previously toppled San Juan, Biñan, Nasipit, and Rizal.
Meanwhile, the Rizal Xentromall Golden Coolers rolled to their fourth straight win to join Negros at the top of the team standings after a 25-12, 25-19, 27-25, victory over the Nasipit Lady Spikers Agusan Del Norte yesterday at the Ynares Sports Center. With 22 points built on 22 attacks, Johna Dolorito proved to be unstoppable for the Golden Coolers and was named as the Queen of the Court, while Joan Doguna, another mainstay of the Lyceum Lady Pirates in the NCAA, added 12 points on 10 attacks and 2 service aces for the Golden Coolers.
After Negros and Rizal, the Bacoor City Strikers Metro Land Builders Corp find themselves in the third spot in the team standings with a 5-2 record and 15 points, and have won 5 straight matches after opening their 2023 MPVA season campaign with back-to-back losses. Bacoor’s latest win was a 25-19, 25-15, 25-15 straight sets victory over the Caloocan AM Spikers yesterday, putting the Strikers right behind Negros and Rizal in the standings.
Following their losses yesterday, the Nasipit Lady Spikers Agusan Del Norte and Marikina Lady Shoemasters are tied in the middle of the pack with identical 3-4 records, with Nasipit sitting at the fourth spot with 11 points, which is slightly ahead of Marikina’s 9 points. After defeating the San Juan Lady Knights Go For Gold in four sets yesterday, 14-25, 25-21, 32-30, 26-24, the Biñan Tatakgel – I Am Worldwide moved up in the team standings at 2-5 and tied the Lady Knights at the sixth and seventh spots with 2-5 records and 5 points.
And finally, with a 1-6 record and five straight losses, the Caloocan AM Spikers find themselves at the bottom of the team standings. The team will need to pick up more victories to catch up with the other participating teams as the tournament enters its next phase, especially with this week’s matches set to be held inside their home court, the Caloocan Sports Complex.
Action in the 2023 MPVA season continues this week on Wednesday, November 22, with Nasipit set to face San Juan at 1:00 p.m., Marikina battling Negros at 3:30 p.m., and Rizal clashing with hosts Caloocan.