Final Four cast complete

Grace Christian Academy players and their coaches celebrate their playoff win in the 2018-2019 Commonwealth Coalition of Private Schools Association Volleyball League yesterday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium. (Roby N. Pamintuan)

The 2018-2019 Commonwealth Coalition of Private Schools Association Volleyball League is down to four teams after Grace Christian Academy 1 and 2, Agape Christian School 1, and Mt. Carmel School won their respective playoff games yesterday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.

The top-seeded GCA 1 took the first semis seat after ousting last place finisher Agape 2 with a straight set win, 25-16, 25-10. Agape 1 also ended Seventh Day Adventist’ playoff run in a concurrent game, 25-10, 25-11.

GCA 1 was led by team captain Katriel Saures, who reached deep into her offensive toolkit to unload a series of skillfully delivered serves, spikes, and tips and override the Torchbearers’ defensive matrix. Saures, who is also GCA’s starting setter, shared the wealth throughout the game by lobbing perfectly calculated sets to spikers Hye Jin Elliot and Kean Pajarillaga.

Antonio Li and Jordan Miao of ACS 2 played well-rounded games on offense and defense, but the duo’s efforts were not enough to stave off their elimination from the playoffs.

Meanwhile, Agape 1’s Eric Chen, David Zheng, and Bobby Bao threaded multiple aces through SDA’s porous defense for the easy win. The Torchbearers’ dynamic duo of Bao and Zheng set each other up and were mostly successful, as both launched a series of spikes that were too hot to handle for SDA.

In the second pair of playoff matches, both Mt. Carmel, and GCA 2 needed three sets to eliminate their foes.

The Knights squashed the Geckos’ playoff run, 23-25, 25-11, 15-7, while the Eagles survived the Tsunamis’ onslaught with a similar tough win, 24-26, 25-19, 15-13.

The Eagles’ second squad, which came into this game with a two-game losing streak (bowing to Agape 1 and 2), overcame the pressure and tension of the playoff stage and resiliently slugged their way to victory.

“Personally, the win felt very electric because we were on the edge of elimination, but we still got it,” team captain Ryan Daproza said.

Daproza stepped up for GCA 2 in the deciding third set after delivering two clutch overhand serves. Anthony Camacho-Deleon Guerrero then dealt the final blow to SCS’ playoff run with a craftily placed set that was out of the reach of Tsunamis defenders.

After the close win against SCS, GCA 2 will have an equally tough task today when it faces the No. 2 seed Agape 1 in the semifinals. The other semis game will have the unbeaten GCA 1 battling No. 4 Mt. Carmel. Games will start at 3:30pm and will still be played at the Ada Gym.

Roby N. Pamintuan Author

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