Almost, but not quite. CPA's volleyball team almost snatched the championship title from defending champion Philhealth during the nerve-rattling Best of Five Sets series in the recently concluded Association of Regional Executives of National Agencies in Region 7 (ARENA 7) Volleyball Championships held yesterday, November 28, 2012, at the Sacred Heart Center Gym.
But it just was not meant to be as CPA succumbed to Philhealth by a hairline, 14-15 in the fifth and final set.
CPA's first-six led by team captain Maria Alma Wong ably demolished Philhealth in the first set , 25-20. However, Philhealth grabbed the win in the second set, 25-17. The third set saw the CPA team all fired up to reclaim the lead back at 25-20, but Philhealth came back to win the fourth set 25-15, bringing the game to Set 5 to break the 2-2 tie.
Coached by CPA cargo control officer Roldan Potot, who also coaches the USJ-R volleyball team, CPA had to play the entire series with its first team of six, four of whom are former varsity players, to competently battle the four former varsity players who made up majority of Philhealth's volleyball team.
Aside from CPA organic employees Wong and Rhea Emilia Oporto, the CPA team was buffed up with the inclusion of agency players Elizabeth Emnace and Mary Luilyn Pacinio, who both used to play for Southwestern University, and Joey Ann Jotojot and Jovielyn Abil, who both played for the University of Southern Philippines, in their college days.
In a heart-stopping face-off between the two teams, spectators were treated to a show of competitive volleyball as the former varsity players fought in the court against their long-time varsity counterparts in the Philhealth team, namely: Roselyn Balingcasag, Erika Camille Verano and Herlene Ybarita - all former varsity players from USP - and Christy Aina Caspillo of USJ-R.
In the final set where the first team to get 15 points wins the game, Philhealth came out with a brief lead, but CPA's defense pressed it down to a tie at 10 all. They again tied at 11 and 13 points, respectively, in the last few minutes of the set.
But luck seemed to have favored Philhealth when, tied at 13, CPA's ball serve went off the court prompting Philhealth to grab the lead from there on.
Other team members of the CPA volleyball team were Noemi Gulfan, Carmina Mayol, Perlita Jumapao, Laarni Flores, Ninfa Hernandez and Karen Gonzales.
This year marks CPA's first time to join the ARENA-7 volleyball tournament, which was also participated in by other national agencies in the region such as the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Pag-Ibig, Department of Health (DOH), Land Transportation Office (LTO), Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD), Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).