By Jean Malanum

WINNING TEAM. Umingan of Pangasinan won the boys’ title in the Philippine National Volleyball Federation Under-18 Championships at Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila on Sunday (April 28, 2024). Coach Eusebio Solis (standing with trophy, 4th from left) said the victory proved that provincial teams can be at par with squads from big cities. (PNVF photo)

MANILA – Umingan of Pangasinan pulled off a 25-23, 23-25, 23-25, 25-17, 16-14 win over VNS-Savouge to capture the boys’ title in the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) Under-18 Championships at Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila on Sunday.

Michael Angelo Fernandez, who competed in long jump before shifting to volleyball, received the Most Valuable Player (MVP) and First Best Open Hitter awards.

“It’s tough, too tough. We’ve gone through (so) much challenges,” coach Eusebio Solis, head of the Mathematics Department of Umingan National High School, said. “But we proved something with this victory, that we, provincial teams, could stay in stride or even beat the strong teams from the big cities.”

Meanwhile, University of Santo Tomas (UST) recovered from a second-set loss to claim the girls’ title over National University, 25-17, 17-25, 25-20, 25-23.

Kimberly Rubin got the MVP award and was First Best Open Hitter, while teammates Avril Denise Bron (First Best Middle Blocker) and Lianne Penuliar (Second Best Middle Blocker) also reaped honors.

“Good job by the girls,” UST head coach Lerma Giron said. “All of them stand out in difficult times.”

The Umingan spikers battled jet lag and fatigue to conquer Canossa Academy in Saturday’s semifinal, 22-25, 25-19, 25-14, 25-20.

The team arrived just hours before the match from Laoag City, Ilocos Norte where they won the Ilocos Region Athletic Association secondary volleyball tournament.

Canossa Academy (Lipa City) prevailed over Angatleta Orion (Bataan), 25-16, 25-23, 21-25, 25-20, to pocket the boys’ bronze medal.

De La Salle-Lipa placed fifth with a 25-20, 26-24, 13-25, 25-20 win over Hermosa Volleyball Club while Philippine Christian University beat Taytay, 25-21, 27-25, 25-23, for seventh.

The other awardees in the boys’ division were Luke Anton Macatangay of Canossa Academy (Second Best Open Hitter), Roderick Medina of VNS-Savouge (Best Opposite Hitter) and Lawrence Lanting of Angatleta Orion (Best Libero).

The girls’ bronze medal went to Kings’ Montessori, a 25-19, 25-18, 25-14 winner over De La Salle-Lipa.

De La Salle-Zobel defeated Gracel Christian College, 23-25, 25-20, 23-25, 25-4, 15-12 to finish fifth; and Canossa Academy outplayed San Juan Institute of Technology-Batangas, 22-25, 25-18, 26-24, 25-17, to settle for seventh.

The other awardees were Althea Sumague of La Salle-Lipa (Second Best Open Hitter), Jayrelle Mesa of Kings’ Montessori School (Best Libero), and NU’s Harlyn Serneche (Best Opposite Hitter) and Cheska Peñol (Best Setter). (PNA)