THE University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) Lady Jaguars finished off the Southwestern University (SWU-Phinma) Lady Cobras in Game Two of the best-of-three championship series in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) volleyball tournament on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019,
The Lady Jaguars completed a sweep of the Lady Cobras in a fifth set thriller, 26-24, 25-27, 27-25, 20-25, 15-13, in a match that lasted for about three hours at the University of Southern Philippines Foundation gym in Lahug, Cebu City.
The Lady Jaguars reigned the 2019 Cesafi season in a dominating fashion, winning all their 12 games from the elimination round to the championship. USJ-R went perfect in seven games of the elimination before winning all three games in a round-robin semis.
“The players deserved this win. All of their hardwork and sacrifices have paid off. I gave all the credit to my players, to the supporters and to the management,” said rookie coach Michael Simbajon after steering his team to a dominant season.
“My team showed the heart of a Jaguar,” he added.
USJ-R stole the first set from SWU-Phinma, 26-24, after scoring consecutive points off an attack and ace serve. SWU-Phinma returned the favor in the second set, sneaking out with a closely contested 27-25 score.
The third set once again went to a slide, but this time, it was the Lady Jaguars who took the 27-25 score to get one set away from a women’s title. But the Lady Cobras had other things in mind as they took the fourth set, 25-20, to send the game to a deciding fifth set.
USJ-R started strong in the fifth set and took a 6-3 edge, but SWU-Phinma was able to knot the game at 7-all and even grabbed a slim one-point lead, 11-10.
Maybel Rose Cabaron of USJ-R once again tied the game at 12-all before her team got to championship point with two consecutive errors from SWU-Phinma.
SWU-Phinma got within one-point, 13-14, but a service error from Marifel Rupinta spelled the doom for the Lady Cobras.
Daniella Alfeche of USJ-R was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
“As a first year coach, it’s a humbling feeling to win the championship,” said Simbajon.
Meanwhile, the SWU-Phinma and the University of San Carlos are playing Game 2 of the men’s championship as of press time. RSC