The Philippines and the United States of America have a diplomatic relationship that goes back for decades. But for one match at the Ynares Sports Arena on the 23rd of November, the two countries will be on opposite sides. At stake is the gold medal of the Rebisco Volleyball League 2018 National Finals. On center court are the Hawaii Under 18 team and the Kings Montessori School of the Philippines.
KMS wins first encounter
Both teams were 4-0 coming into their showdown with the winner of their contest earning the top spot in Pool A. The first set was tightly contested but the Hawaiians got the upper hand, 28-26, thanks to the clutch spiking of Naniloa Spaar and Madisyn Beirne. But KMS leveled the match the second set, 25-20, behind setter Louie Romero’s excellent playmaking and Hawaii’s 11 unforced errors.
Kings Montessori took the third set despite the fierce opposition from the Hawaiians. Rizza Andrea Cruz, Antonette Adolfo, and Lucille May Almonte combined for nine points to take the match, 25-20. Romero is named player of the game for her numerous excellent sets that went with her four aces, one attack, and one block.
A battle of spots
Kings Montessori loves their quick attacks from the middle and they have the core of Rizza Andrea Cruz, Sunshine Layug, Martina Lucida Aprecio, and Stacey Denise Lopez to execute those fast strikes. The squad of coach Rogelio Getigan has a height disadvantage against the Hawaiians and they will counter that with a fast tempo. The Hawaii Under 18 team has excellent defensive players and any slow ball from KMS will only be dug.
Meanwhile, the Hawaiians often execute their offense from the wings. You can’t fault them about that because they have powerful spikers in Spaar, Beirne, Ella Connor, and Keaupunilani Kamakeeaina who can also play setter. It would be difficult for the KMS floor defenders to stop the Hawaii Under 18’s attack once they get good balls. Therefore, Kings Montessori should look to keep the Hawaiians on their toes with a baffling service game.
KMS can also steal some points from their opponents if they can align their floor defense to deal with Hawaii’s cross court spikes that often target Zone 5. For Hawaii, they must play low in receiving KMS’ serves which are often flat.
Which team will win?
With their first encounter serving as an indication, it would be difficult to predict which team will win. But if the game lives up to the billing of a championship match, then the spectators and the tournament itself are the true winners. Most of you would pull for KMS because they are the local squad. It really is too close to call. Thus, it’s best that you watch it for yourself at the official RVL YouTube channel.