V-League Invitational Club Championship

Philippine Army pounced on Malaysia’s poor reception and leaned on the Carolino sisters’ power game as it came away with a 25-14, 25-18, 25-21 victory at the start of the V-League Invitational Club Championship before a big crowd at The Arena in San Juan Thursday.

Michelle and Marietta Carolino rammed in 12 kills apiece while the Troopers scored nine points off the serve, including five from Mary Jean Balse, to complete the straight-set romp that augured well in their campaign in the short tournament among four teams.

Michelle added two blocks for a 15-hit production while Marietta and Balse ended up with 13 and 11 points, respectively, for the Troopers, who looked sharp and ready for another title crack after dominating the Shakey’s V-League second conference recently.

The Malaysians struggled with their reception and floor defense and failed to neutralize the Carolino sisters, who stepped their attacks on both sides to prime themselves up for an expected explosive showdown with the fancied Vietnam side in Thursday’s resumption of the four-day event sponsored by Shakey’s Pizza.

Vietnam, powered by two Russian hitters and five-time SEA Games runner-up, was playing with Ateneo, winner of the Shakey’s V-League first conference, at presstime.

Teh Huei Hong topscored for Malaysia with nine hits, including eight kills, but the rest groped for form in the face of the Troopers’ unrelenting attack with Jocelyn Teoh, Yew Sook Ting, Tan Chiew Lee, Wong Fei Tien and Lim Lay Kuan combining for 21 points.

Rachel Ann Daquis added eight hits for the Troopers, who also drew four points apiece from Joanne Buñag and Cristina Salak, who held the team together with 27 excellent sets. Salak also scored three service aces.

Meanwhile, the organizing Sports Vision said matches can be viewed on live streaming at www.v-league.ph while ringside, lower box and general admission tickets are pegged at P300, P200, and P75, respectively.

All matches will be aired on NBN 4 on a delayed basis with the first game to be telecast in the night of the same day. The second match will be shown the following day.

The Troopers sized their rivals in the early going but quickly asserted their might midway in the opening set although they needed a pair of strong finishing kicks in the next two frames to fashion out the 69-minute victory.

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