DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Defending volleyball champion Central Luzon isn't here to just play around.
After winning a tightrope 25-17, 23-25, 25-23 decision against host Davao in a virtual finals preview, Central Luzon boosted its back-to-back title bid in the secondary boys volleyball competition in the 2019 Palarong Pambansa.
"Kakayanin namin lahat (We’ll try to pull through),” Central Luzon head coach Joven Canlas said after his team completed a 4-0 sweep of the eliminations on Wednesday, May 1, at the Human Kinetics Gym of the Davao City Sports Complex in the University of the Philippines.
The day before, Central Luzon also won two games against Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindnao and Northern Mindanao.
Both were hard-earned victories after an easy thrashing of Mimaropa in the opener.
But among their rivals, Canlas considered Davao the toughest.
"Pinaghandaan talaga 'to ng Davao kaya mahigpit kalaban (Davao really prepared for this that’s why it was tough going against them),” Canlas said.
Before the match, both Central Luzon and Davao already punched their slots to the next round. But it didn’t stop both teams from going all out.
Central Luzon dropped too many bombs in the 1st set which exposed Davao's vulnerability. The latter, however, found its defense in the next set to force a sudden death.
The deciding frame turned out to be a see-saw affair and also featured multiple deadlocks before Central Luzon pulled through in the final stretch.
The quarterfinal round gets going on Thursday, May 2. – Rappler.com