Petron levels series
PETRON’S championship experience decisively came to the fore last night.
Battling a determined Foton side that kept coming back, Petron’s Blaze Spikers found the grace and composure to prevail, 25-13, 25-21, 23-25, 26-24, and square the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix women’s volleyball championship series at 1-1 at Cuneta Astrodome.
The Blaze Spikers leaned on a superb net defense to neutralize the Tornadoes’ edge in height, and Brazilian open hitter Rupia Inck wreaked havoc on the enemy before a noisy crowd of 8,000 at Cuneta Astrodome.
Petron and Foton clash in a winner-take-all Game 3 at 1 p.m. on Saturday, also at Cuneta.
“Championship experience, that enabled us to get back into the series,” said Petron coach George Pascua. “That’s our edge in the series— our veteran players.
Inck scored 25 points, including a five-point barrage late in the fourth set that helped Petron fend off Foton’s final stand.
Dindin Manabat and Aby Maraño chipped in 16 points each and provided the needed oomph for the Blaze Spikers, who dropped Game 1, 14-24, 25-21, 25-19, 25-22, last week.
But unlike in that game, where Petron started off strong only to wither as the match wore on, admittedly due to miscommunication, the squad kept its heart to the end.
“I guess we got tired,” said Foton coach Vilet Ponce de Leon. “In the third and fourth sets we just fell short.”
Lindsay Stalzer scored 23 for Foton and the other members of its “triple towers,” Katie Messing and Jaja Santiago, backed her up with 11 apiece.
Foton threatened to force a fifth set when it zoomed ahead, 22-19, but Inck found her range in the right flank and hammered the points that broke the Tornadoes’ back.
Petron’s Erica Adachi made 32 excellent sets compared to Ivy Perez’s eight for Foton.
The Blaze Spikers also had 55 excellent digs, 25 coming from libero Jen Reyes, compared to the 33 of the Tornadoes.
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