It's the human and fun side of our sports heroes

Casiey Dongallo scores 25 as California defeats Baguio in PNVF Champions League

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Playing for pride, California Precision Sports (CPS) beat Baguio City, 25-14, 23-25, 25-11, 25-12, for its first Philippine National Volleyball Federation Champions League victory on Tuesday at the Aquamarine Recreational Center.

The Lady Highlanders also finally won a set in the second, but the Antipolo-based CPS regrouped with a dominant performance in the third and fourth to prevail.

“We could have done better,” said skipper Kizzie Madriaga after her teammates allowed Baguio City to steal a set before playing their usual game and snatch their first win in four outings.

The Lady Highlanders fell to 0-4.

Caisey Dongallo scored all but one of her 25 points on attacks and collected seven digs, Jelai Gajero added 16 points and eight digs andsetter Madriaga tossed in 19 excellent sets for CPS.

Handled by multi-titled high school coach Jerry Yee in a bubble training for a month, CPS was finally rewarded after putting up a gallant stand in its first three matches.

“Coach Yee prepared for us very well,” Gajero said.

Those losses against professional clubs toughened CPS and Yee was the glue that kept the young crew together.

“He is so calm coaching us,” said Madriaga, referring to Yee.

A “grassroots” volleyball program consisting of players from Bicol, Bulacan, Cebu, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya and Rizal, CPS lived up to the mantra “nothing to lose, everything to gain.”

“Our group’s dedication to the sport and its continuous precision training while in the bubble is paying off despite the pandemic,” said CPS owner Dr. Obet Vital, who hopes that some of the athletes could try out for next year’s Asian Volleyball Cup U17 and U19 competitions in Thailand and China, respectively.

Ann Atuban and Joan Lyn Maddatu each scored seven points, while Shyla Marie Ylarde and Rhaetia Mae Pilo contributed six points apiece for Baguio.