TEAM Mindanao lost to Central Visayas, 25-19, 25-18, at the start of the Shakey's Girls Volleyball League Season 11 Tournament of Champions group elimination at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Manila Monday afternoon.

Mindanao spikers, coached by Sherwin Maganda of the Ateneo de Davao University, couldn't get their acts together as the University of San Jose Recoletos (USJR) Cebu-bannered Central Visayas leaned on their vast experience to clinch the win.

Coach Maganda said, "Nung first set naunahan tayo, 4-15 agad. Pero nahabol namin nag 16-15 tayo. Aminadong malakas ang Central Visayas pero lumaban ang mga bata. Hopefully makakapag-adjust kami sa second game namin tomorrow against New Zealand."

Mindanao, composed mainly of players from the regional qualifying champion team Ateneo de Davao University, collides with New Zealand at 4 p.m. today in Pool B.

"God has a plan why the second placer last year ng Shakey's and Palarong Pambansa ang unang pinagtapat sa team. He knows what's best for us. Excited ang mga bata to show what they are made of after those grueling trainings and practices na pinaghirapan nila," Maganda said in text messages to Sun.Star Davao before the match opposite Central Visayas.

The Mindanao squad, which is reinforced by three spikers from the Iligan National High School and one from Tagum City National High School, has to bounce back today and sweep the remaining games to secure a semi-final berth. Only the top two teams in each group will advance to the cross-over semis.

Maganda earlier said they will target the first or second position in Pool B en-route to a semis seat.

"Maganda ang bracket natin. May fighting chance tayong pumasok sa semis. Modest goal namin na mag No. 1 o No. 2 sa grupo, bahala na kung sino ang ma crossover namin sa semi-finals," Maganda said.

Mindanao takes on Southern Luzon at 5 p.m. tomorrow then will test the mettle of Eastern Visayas at 2 p.m. on Thursday.

Nicole Margarette Frando, Samantha Nicole Dizon, Alyssa Aldwin Alterado, Allan Paula Maspinas, Jubilee Therese Acosta, Patria Jela Peña, Katherine Gayle Bermudez and Carol Joy Concon of Ateneo are joined by Rosemary Cailing, Judith Abil and Kathleen Faith Arado of Iligan and Mae Luna of Tagum in the team whose assistant coach is Kirk Marion Mojica.

Team Mindanao only had four days to train together so the need for them to focus on their teamwork and camaraderie on court.