By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
One Love overcame a 22-25 opening loss to Squid Ball, then earned a hard fought 26-24, 25-14 and epic 30-29 thrilling victory, in the finals of the Filipino Volleyball League, to claim the Jameson Cup on Friday night at the Multipurpose Sports Complex.
“This was definitely a thrilling game,” One Love Captain Marie Harry told Island Sun Sports. “This is probably the most competitive team we have won against. Squid Ball was an amazing team to compete against and all our players were amazing. It was definitely a hard core experience for me, I just love the thrill.”
When asked the meaning of winning the title, Harry said has been playing Volleyball for years and hadn’t won anything. “To win this, will probably stay in my record book of best games ever,” she stated. “Ending 30-29 tells you how competitive and how good both of our teams were. They are up to the play and we both fought for this—we fought for this.”
Trailing 19-22 in the fourth set, Squid Ball came back to tie the game at 23-23, a game that was tied through 29-29 before One Love’s 30-29 win. “As much as we wanted to win, they wanted to win too and we were all tired and this was the fourth set we were playing so everyone would be tired,” Harry noted. “Especially with our heights. It’s been one joy ride.”
Throughout the tournament, Harry said her One Love team learned communication, belief and team support, especially when they lost points, they had to ensure they gave energy to their teammates because it was a downer when they lost points. She said when they lost a point, they forgot about it, focused on the next play and reset the team.
“This victory was good for our team,” she said. “I’m so happy.”
Squid Ball’s Captain Kate Robeldo, told Island Sun Sports that everyone on her team did a good job. “We’re so happy that we reached the finals,” she said. “We weren’t expecting that we would, because it’s the first time we are playing (as a team) the good thing about our team is the teamwork. It’s just that we didn’t anticipate the things like cramps and injuries coming in, but we’re still happy in the end, that we played as a team.”
Reflecting on the game where they won the first set, before losing the next three, Robeldo said the ball is ‘funny sometimes’ and they didn’t know when it would be on their side, but added that they were trying to overcome One Love.
“I’m not sure if it was mental or we were kind of pressured perhaps, but when we started to get back in the fourth set, however, because of the rules that you have to stop at 30, it was not in our control anymore,” she noted. “It’s in the rules, so that’s where we lost the game. That last set was intense. I think we actually gave the audience the show that they were looking for. The other team plays very well. Their defense is incredible.”
Nagico was awarded third place in the tournament, following a straight set 25-19 and 25-23 triumph over Volley BVI.
Awards doled out following the championship match were as follows. Most Valuable Player: Junior Harry, One Love. Best Blocker: Bapi Nino, Nagico. Best Digger: John Rey Andaya, Nagico. Best Spiker: Rod Atchalian, Nagico. Best Server: Jimroy Dinglacan, Squid Ball. Best Female Player: Narelle Nifras, Squid Team. Best Male Player: Junior Harry, One Love. 2nd Runner Up: Nagico. 1st Runner Up: Squid Ball. Champion: One Love.