Petron blazes new Superliga title trail
Petron imposed its full strength against Shopinas to cap a momentous title sweep with a 25-17, 22-25, 30-28, 25-17 victory Thursday night in the Philippine Superliga All Filipino Conference at Cuneta Astrodome.
The 13th straight triumph by the Blaze Spikers didn’t come without a struggle as the Lady Clickers mounted a last stand by winning the second set and extending the third frame.
But there was no way to stop the Blaze Spikers who dominated the league with their acquisition of A-1 hitters Aby Maraño and Rachel Daquis in the off-season to add to standard bearer Dindin Manabat.
Daquis bagged the Most Valuable Player award. She finished with 16 points, while Manabat and Maraño produced 18 points each.
Maraño, whose collegiate credentials could easily make her a franchise player in her own, starred for Petron with 15 attacks, one block and two aces.
The feisty opposite hitter, whose “beast-mode, don’t-care” attitude on the court earned her legions of fans, drilled in the Blaze Spikers’ final four points.
All told, Petron won 13 matches, including one semifinal encounter and Games 1 and 2 of the finals.
Many of the key players of the two finalists played in another league two hours before game time. But it hardly showed as they came out firing on all cylinders.
By the fourth set, though, Daquis went out due to cramps. Shopinas top gunner Cha Cruz was also treated for cramps after the match. Cruz won the conference best outside spiker award.
Shopinas, led by Cruz and Stephanie Mercado, zoomed to a 16-13 lead in the first set. But Petron responded with a 12-1 barrage to wrap up the set.
But this didn’t frustrate Lady Clickers, who rallied in the second set to even things up.
In the third set, Shopinas went to set point four times but couldn’t nail it. Down 27-28, Petron relied on Maraño and Maica Morada to seize a 2-1 set lead.
Petron’s Jen Reyes won the best libero award, while Maraño and Manabat were named second best and best middle blocker, respectively.
Also winning individual awards were Philips Gold’s Iris Tolenada (best setter) and teammate Michelle Gumabao (best opposite spiker).
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