SKIPPER Marlon Phillip scored an incredible 36 points as Trinidad and Tobago roared back from two sets down to edge the defending champions when the CASOVA (Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association) Youth Championships continued yesterday at Eastern Regional Indoor Sports Arena, Tacarigua.
Despite losing two very competitive sets to begin the first of four matches yesterday, the hosts refused to surrender as they clawed their way back to edge the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) 21-25, 23-25, 25-14, 25-18, 15-12 in a pulsating two-hour affair.
Phillip, who represented the country in the Youth Olympic beach volleyball qualifying tournament at Maracas Bay last week and still has a chance to make it to Nanjing, China, in August, was virtually unstoppable as he served four aces and had 32 kills.
T&T, the fourth-placed finishers last year after being the bronze medallists in the other two editions of this Under-19 tournament, were scheduled to come back after press time last night to oppose Jamaica and will conclude their round-robin campaign at 4 p.m. today against Barbados.
The Barbadians had cruised past the Jamaicans in three sets in the first match of the tournament on Thursday.
And in the night game, T&T’s Under-18 girls crushed Bahamas 25-14, 25-16, 25-21 in just over an hour. Captain Reann Young and Kaylon Cruickshank, members of the national team which secured the silver medal in the Caribbean Junior (Under-20) Championships in Guadeloupe a few months ago, led the way with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Barbadians are the only other team in the female competition, and they beat Bahamas 26-24, 25-20 25-15 yesterday to be assured of a showdown against T&T in tomorrow’s final even before their round-robin clash at 6 p.m. today.
The girls’ tournament has only taken place twice previously with T&T being triumphant in St Croix last year, five years after they captured the inaugural gold at home.
The top two of the four teams in the boys’ round-robin event will square off for the title at 3 p.m. tomorrow, two hours before the girls’ final.