Lady Altas gain V-League semisBy Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
DRAWING a huge game from its Thai import, Perpetual Help outlasted University of St. La Salle in a grueling five-setter, 26-24, 19-25, 24-26, 28-26, 15-12, yesterday to reach the semifinals for the first time in the Shakey’s V-League at Filoil Flying V Arena.
Thai guest player Pornpimol Kunbang fired 29 points, including five blocks and the match-clinching spike in the deciding fifth set where the Lady Altas overhauled a four-point deficit.
“We were lucky,” said Perpetual coach Mike Rafael.
But more than luck, the Lady Altas showed the composure needed against the Bacolod-based Lady Stingers who were also vying for a crucial win to keep their own semifinal bid alive.
Sandra delos Santos also shone by amassing 17 points for the Lady Altas, while April Sartin and Jane Diaz had 16 points each.
“This is our first time in the semis and I’m sure it will boost our players’ morale,” said Rafael after the Lady Altas secured third place with a 4-1 record.
In the second game, Jeng Bualee unloaded 37 points to power San Sebastian in another five-set thriller, 25-19, 19-25, 25-16, 23-25, 15-5, over Far Eastern University.
Bualee delivered almost half of the Lady Stag’s points in the deciding fifth frame where they raced to a 9-1 advantage.
Joy Benito also had 22 markers for the Lady Stags, who secured at least a semifinal playoff slot with a 3-2 record.
Bualee’s impressive output tied the second highest individual score in league history, just behind the record 38 Sontaya Keawbundit set in 2010.
Perpetual joined early semifinalists Ateneo and University of Santo Tomas, which were both gunning to preserve their unbeaten streak at press time last night.
A service error by St. La Salle skipper Charmaine Moralde broke the 12-12 tie in the fifth set, before the Lady Altas wrapped it up with a Shyrra Cabriana ace and a Kunbang smash.
Jovelyn Gonzaga paced the Lady Stingers with 25 points and Patty Orendain and Beauty Denila scored 21 each.
The Lady Stingers, a surprise third placer last year, dropped to 2-5. With a report from Randolph Leongson