Petron braces for strong Japan crew
Quick to rebound from a first loss, Petron turned back Foton, 26-24, 22-25, 25-19, 25-21, in the final round of the Belo Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference Friday night at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Veteran Aiza Maizo-Pontillas led the Blaze Spikers with 15 kills while Frances Molina, Mina Aganon and Mika Reyes also delivered key contributions.
The Blaze Spikers—who brushed off Thursday’s heartbreak against Cignal when they absorbed their first loss in six games—will next take on Kobe Shinwa Women’s University of Japan on the last day of the women’s club tournament.
The Japanese squad, which clobbered the Tornadoes in four sets late Thursday, was battling Cignal at presstime.
Molina, Aganon and Reyes teamed up for 35 points to provide Petron ample firepower.
“We’re so thankful because we won our second game in the final round,” said Petron coach Shaq Delos Santos. “We believe that anything can still happen. We’re facing a strong team [on Saturday]. We’ll do everything to win over them.”
Meanwhile, an erratic Cocolife squad found its rhythm in the fifth set to overcome Sta. Lucia Realty, 25-23, 23-25, 25-17, 12-25, 15-11, in the classification battle.
Rose Vargas and Michele Gumabao provided the fireworks in that torrid rally down the stretch to put Cocolife a win away from a fourth-place finish in this women’s club tourney.
Vargas spearheaded the assault with 18 kills for a game-high 20 points while Gumabao nailed 18 markers for the Asset Managers, who played the Japanese squad in a friendly match in preparation for this important clash.
“Our tuneup game with the Japanese team helped,” said Cocolife coach Obet Javier, the architect of Arellano University’s rise to NCAA women’s volleyball stardom.
Javier said they were in control in the deciding set, although there were some minor turbulence in the first few sets.
“We were playing relaxed at first,” he said. “But in the end we gained control.”
True enough, the Asset Managers had a roller-coasterrun in the first four frames, allowing the Lady Realtors to stretch the match to a deciding set.
After the Lady Realtors knotted it at 11, the Asset Managers proved steadier in the endgame as Vargas shattered the deadlock with an attack off the block before foiling the attempt of Rialen Sante for a 13-11 advantage.
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