Sweet Digs took two sets to beat Itsy Bitsy Spikers, 25-16, 26-24, to clinch the women’s division title in the 2019 Agape Christmas Volleyball Tournament last Saturday at the Agape Multipurpose Gymnasium.
Iszel Esteves, Kristel Encinares, Alyssa Velasco, Cecile Guevarra, Mia Carreon, Michelle Masga, Tazga Deleon Guerrero, Irish Pagarao, and Julia Espino played for the champion team.
Sweet Digs and Itsy Bitsy Spikers finished the double-round robin preliminaries with similar 7-1 records to make it the four-team playoff round with the latter getting the No. 1 seed after prevailing in the tiebreak.
Itsy Bitsy Spikers, who had Fatima Monterubio, Anna Nunez, Hjeyin Elliot, Katriel Saures, Kepina Moriflor, Madellain Narciso, Maury Zon Tybaco, Soleil Lamar, and Sunny Woo as members, were then pitted against Jingle Balls in the semis and posted a 25-9, 25-17 victory to take the first finals berth.
Sweet Digs also needed only two sets to top Sugar and Spice, 25-8, 25-17, and bag the second finals ticket.
In the championship game, Sweet Digs was in control of the first set and withstood Itsy Bitsy Spikers’ late rally to move closer to the title.
In the second set, Sweet Digs dueled a much tougher Itsy Bitsy Spikers, who never trailed by more than 4 points and even managed to force the fifth deadlock in the game, 19-all.
Sweet Digs then grabbed the lead back, 21-19, with Velasco blocking Monterubio and Saures’ shot hitting the net. However, Itsy Bitsy Spikers knotted the count for the seventh time, 22-all, off Monterubio’s kill and Tybaco’s two placement shots.
A wide spike from Elliot gave the lead back to Sweet Digs, 23-22, and the eventual champion moved within a point from clinching the title when Pagarao set up Masga for a spike.
However, Sweet Digs, failed to wrap up the finale in the ensuing plays, as it committed back-to-back errors. With the game tied for the nth time, 24-all, Itsy Bitsy Spikers attempted to steal the lead, but Tybaco’s toss kissed the net, putting Sweet digs on top, 25-24. Esteves then finished off Itsy Bitsy Spikers with a spike, dropping the ball to the open back row.