AirAsia, PLDT gain PSL Final Four
MANILA, Philippines — AirAsia fought back from two sets down to frustrate Cagayan Valley, 16-25, 16-25, 25-16, 25-17, 15-13, even as PLDT Home TVolution stopped a Dindin Santiago-led Petron, 16-25, 25-21, 25-18, 25-22, Sunday night to reach the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference semifinals at Cuneta Astrodome.
Returning star Michele Gumabao delivered the goods in the fifth and final set, including the clincher at matchpoint, to push the Flying Spikers to the semifinals against the Generika-Army Lady Troopers on Wednesday.
Stephanie Mercado topscored with 22 points while Aby Marano and Cha Cruz added 17 points for AirAsia. Gumabao had six points.
Santiago, the league’s top scorer, still managed to score 28 points, but her efforts went for naught as the Power Attackers regrouped after losing the first set and then weathered a desperate fourth-set uprising by Petron to pull off the come-from-behind win.
Lou Ann Latigay paced the Power Attackers with 18 points. They gained a shot at No. 2 team RC Cola-Air Force in the semifinals.
A back-row spiker, Santiago spread herself too thin by also playing a big role in defense.
“Dindin is in the back row most of the time and the front didn’t have enough threat,” said PLDT coach Roger Gorayeb, whose charges absorbed a league-best 37-point bombardment from Santiago in the eliminations.
“We made her (Santiago) look way too good,” Gorayeb added in Filipino.
PLDT also displayed balanced assault with Sue Roces scoring 14 points, Rysabelle Devanadera nine and Angela Benting seven.
“They played with a lot of experience,” admitted Petron coach George Pascua.
He likewise cited PLDT’s ploy to direct all serves at Santiago to keep her busy all game long.
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