California Academy and Naga College Foundation pulled off thrilling upsets against perennial contenders National U-Nazareth School and Bacolod Tay Tung to arrange a finals duel in the 2023 Shakey’s Girls Volleyball Invitational League Saturday at the San Andres Gym.
Both squads essayed reverse sweeps over their fancied rivals as California stunned NU-NS, 23-25, 25-23, 25-22, 27-25, while Naga claimed the scalp of Bacolod Tay Tung High School, 11-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-23, in the gigantic Final Four clash among unbeaten teams.
California Academy and Naga will slug it out in the one-game championship next Saturday for all the marbles of the historic GVIL backed by Shakey’s Pizza Parlor, Potato Corner, Peri-Peri and R&B Tea with the City of Manila as government cooperation partner.
Casiey Dongallo (27) and Gelaica Gajero (24) combined for 51 points as the young Antipolo-based California spikers slayed the giant in no less than the reigning UAAP juniors champion.
Jenalyn Umayam chipped in 10 points while Kizzie Madriago orchestrated the show with 21 sets for California, which scored three straight wins against the Lady Bullpups highlighted by a stellar comeback in the fourth set from a 21-24 deficit.
“It’s a big win for us. It’s a close match and could have been anybody’s game but the girls stayed calm and in control. This Shakey’s GVIL features the best of the best of the Philippines so we’re happy that we’re able to beat the best of UAAP. We’re very proud of that,” said coach Obet Vital.
Naga, behind Arah Ellah Panique’s 27 points, was not to be left behind in catching a big fish in Bacolod en route to the Last Dance of the 16-team GVIL also powered by Mikasa, Team Rebel Sports, Toby’s Sports, Genius Sports and SM Tickets.
Panique drew coverage from Sheena Sarie and Nathasza Bombita, who provided 15 and 12 points, respectively, as Naga swung back with guns ablaze after a blowout 11-25 loss in the opening salvo.
“Naka-tsamba na naman. Naunahan kami pero hindi bumigay. Hanggang sa huli, laban talaga. Napakahirap. Puhunan namin dito ‘yung tapang. Sabi ko lang sa kanila, ‘wag bibitaw’. Nung nakatabla na kami, bakit ngayon pa kayo bibitaw. Swerte na pumabor sa amin,” said Naga coach Parley Tupaz.
Bienne Louise Bansil fired 20 points while Alexia Montoro had 22 for NU-NS and Bacolod, respectively, entering their bronze medal match also on Saturday.
All games of Shakey’s GVIL, in partnership with Athletic Events and Sports Management, Inc., (ACES), will be broadcasted live and on-demand through all social media platforms courtesy of Plus Network with CNN Philippines, Solar Sports and Tap Sports as TV partners.