PLDT Home crushes Navy, gains V-League semifinals
There was no urgency to fill a gaping roster hole for PLDT Home Ultera after coming up with a 25-20, 20-25, 25-13, 25-13 victory over Philippine Navy yesterday to secure a semifinal seat in the Shakey’s V-League Season 12-Reinforced Conference.
Aiza Pontillas had 15 points and delivered the finishing kill that punctuated the game-long brilliance of the Ultrafast Lady Hitters, who won for the second straight time, their third overall in four games.
“We’re doing great, but we don’t have somebody who could effectively man the middle at the moment,” said Gorayeb, seeking to become the first coach in the league to complete a personal grand slam after winning the Open Conference crown with PLDT and the Collegiate Conference title with National U.
According to Gorayeb, Charo Soriano, one of PLDT’s two legitimate middle blockers, has yet to get into the indoor groove after playing beach volleyball in a commercial tournament.
“She’s having a hard time after that stint in beach volley,” said Gorayeb.
With Soriano struggling, Pontillas, Rysabelle Devanadera and Suzanne Roces filled the middle by committee for Gorayeb.
And the Ultrafast Lady Hitters made it work, even making it appear easy, particularly in the final two sets where the Lady Sailors couldn’t find an answer to PLDT’s series of smashes.
Philippine Navy’s poor reception accelerated its downfall as the Ultrafast Lady Hitters transformed a slim three-point lead into a blowout anchored on Devanadera, Ella De Jesus’ pair of service aces and that killer of a spike by Pontillas at match point.
Janine Marciano also had 15 points, highlighted by 12 hits, Devanadera added 13 and Gretchel Soltones finished with 10 for the Ultrafast Lady Hitters, who got 33 excellent sets from Rubie De Leon.
Pau Soriano led the Lady Sailors with 17 hits and Lilet Mabbayad scored 12. They missed earning a quick trip to the semis after dropping their third game in five outings.
“We’re still No. 2 in the standings, but I’m confident we’ll get better,” said Gorayeb.
Alyssa Valdez has yet to suit up for PLDT after seeing action in the UAAP beach volley tournament last month.
Instituto Estetico Manila stayed in the hunt for a semifinals berth with a 25-19, 25-23, 26-24 triumph over Sta. Elena in the Spikers’Turf.
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