Foxies finally taste pro win in PVL; Chameleons shut down Chargers

Farm Fresh Foxies.–PVL PHOTO

Farm Fresh Foxies.–MARLO CUETO/

Farm Fresh’s losing streak in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) was bound to end with the way the young Foxies have fought in the ongoing All-Filipino Conference.

The franchise’s breakthrough finally came on Tuesday.

“We’ve waited a long time for this win,” libero Kiara Cruz said on the heels of Farm Fresh’s first pro win, 25-17, 25-17, 25-15, against embattled Gerflor at Smart Araneta Coliseum. “We were just patient and we’ve always had each other’s backs.”

It was an arduous journey, but Farm Fresh finally ended a 12-game skid dating back to its debut in the previous Invitational Conference.

In their most recent games before Tuesday, the Foxies gutted out set wins against new-look Akari, Cignal and defending champion Creamline while also dragging talent-rich F2 Logistics to five sets in its most recent loss.

“It was an overwhelming feeling for us, especially since we are still young but we are so happy and we can’t say anything else,” she added as the Foxies dealt the Defenders its seventh consecutive loss, eleventh since last conference.

Farm Fresh wasn’t the only one that felt that way.

Debuting team Nxled beat sister team Akari for its second franchise victory, one that carried almost the same emotional relief for a different reason.

“It was very fulfilling, other than that one thing to win against our sister team. We had another motivation and it was more of a spiritual and emotional type of motivation. It was special,” setter Kamille Cal said after the Chameleons came from a set down and stunned the Chargers, 22-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-16, to end a five-game losing streak.

White ribbons

Cal said Nxled, whose players wore white ribbons during the match, dedicated the team’s performance to the grieving May Luna, whose mother recently passed away.

“I just wanna play well for the team and give my spikers the best set that I could. I worked for this so much every day,” Cal said after the Chameleons clinched their second win and pin a fourth loss in seven games on the Chargers. “… I don’t have any other goal in mind but to make the job easier for my spikers.”

She certainly made things easier for Luna, lobbing a lot of her 28 excellent sets to the former La Salle standout. Luna finished with 14 points in the win and wept at the end of the game as her teammates rushed to console her.

“It’s kind of a difficult decision to use May Luna inside the court because she has kept on crying every day after her mom died. It’s really sad for us, she wasn’t able to join the practice,” said Nxled coach Taka Minowa. “That’s why we were confused about using her [or not]. But she practiced last time and was very good, so we used her. Her performance was very good.”

Everyone scoring

Farm Fresh’s Trisha Tubu soars high for a kill. —AUGUST DELA CRUZ

Farm Fresh’s Trisha Tubu soars high for a kill. —AUGUST DELA CRUZ

Kate Santiago, meanwhile, led Farm Fresh in its first win in eight games this conference with 18 points all from attacks. Team captain Louie Romero, the quick-thinking and astute playmaker, finished with 13 excellent sets and made sure no name in the Foxies roster would be idle. Everyone Minowa fielded contributed in the scoring department.

“We are happy because our training bore fruit. First win so it really feels good,” league top scorer Trisha Tubu, who had nine points despite sitting out the third frame, said in Filipino.

Tubu admitted that her squad had “glitches” in its first conference. But having more time to gel together allowed them to display much better performances.

And having experienced the sweet taste of victory, the Foxies are looking to turn things around for the rest of their conference despite no longer having the chance to enter the semifinals.

Farm Fresh is not taking anything for granted nor is it looking down on its remaining three assignments.

“We got the win today so we need to prepare more for the next games until the conference is not yet over. I told [my teammates] that we need to improve Farm Fresh’s standing,” Romero said.

But that goal is easier said than done with the Foxies schedule still including seasoned Petro Gazz.

“We will remember the feeling of winning all the time. What we felt earlier in the court, we hope to bring in our next games … We’re giving them a fight,” Cruz said.

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Gerflor, who is still going on a rough patch in its PVL journey, had a welcome development regarding its delayed players’ salaries over the weekend after its management partially fulfilled its end of the bargain. The coaches, however, have yet to receive their salaries.