PLDT crushes UP; Coast Guard scores
PLDT Home Ultera proved too sharp for University of the Philippines as the Ultra Fast Spikers hacked out a convincing 25-12, 22-25, 25-15, 25-17 triumph Saturday in the Shakey’s V-League Season 12-Reinforced Conference at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Stunned by Army in five sets last Sunday, the Ultra Fast Spikers returned to winning ways behind a solid attacking game anchored on Gretchel Soltones and Janine Marciano while snapping the Lady Maroons’ unbeaten start.
The result paved the way for a three-team logjam at second spot between PLDT, UP and idle Philippine Navy.
Later, Coast Guard finally nailed its first victory in dramatic fashion, nipping a gritty Kia Forte squad, 12-25, 25-22, 14-25, 25-23, 17-15.
It was the Lady Dolphins’ first win in four outings, keeping them alive in the race for semifinal slots, while Kia absorbed a third straight defeat dimming its postseason hopes.
The Lady Dolphins summoned their fiery form in the last two sets to compensate for their poor start, completing the victory in two hours and nine minutes.
Rivals in the NCAA, Soltones, the San Sebastian standout, and Marciano who used to play for San Beda, combined to devastating effect against the Lady Maroons as they finished with 16 hits each.
The Ultra Fast Spikers fashioned out the win even without Ateneo star Alyssa Valdez, who remained sidelined due to a back injury.
PLDT coach Roger Gorayeb hopes to have Valdez back in the squad soon, but the veteran coach is glad Soltones, a national Under 23 standout, held the fort for the Ultra Fast Spikers.
Gorayeb attributed to the win to their solid reception that allowed PLDT to set up quality attacks at the net.
“We just minimized the errors and received well especially in the last two sets,” said Roger Gorayeb.
“We’re still not sure when she is returning but we hope it will be soon,” said Gorayeb of Valdez.
The Lady Maroons, who rolled to two impressive wins, showed glimpses of their superb form, but struggled to sustain their attacks when PLDT finally hit its stride.
Save for the third set when PLDT took its foot of the gas, UP found it difficult to make headway against a quality and experienced team, absorbing its first loss of the tournament in an hour and 25 minutes.