PVL: PLDT moves closer to semifinals, turns back Army Black Mamba
MANILA, Philippines — PLDT bucked a slow start to fend off Army Black Mamba, 17-25, 25-11, 25-20, 25-18, and inch closer to booking a semifinal berth in the Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference on Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Jules Samonte continued to shine in her new position as wing spiker, leading the Power Hitters’ balanced attack with 17 points built on 14 attacks, two aces, and a block and had 20 digs as they snapped the two-game winning streak of the Lady Troopers in one hour and 56 minutes.
After succumbing to Army in the opening set, PLDT unleashed an 18-4 start in the second set that paced its strong showing for the remainder of the match to earn a second straight win for a 3-1 record in the second place.
“We were rushing things in the first set. I told them to stay composed. After that set, they showed synchronization in their movements,” said PLDT head coach George Pascua in Filipino.
Veteran setter Rhea Dimaculangan orchestrated the Power Hitters’ offense with 20 excellent sets and had three blocks to finish with four points as Samonte and three other players scored in double figures. Fiola Ceballos delivered 13 points and 13 excellent receptions. Dell Palomata and Toni Rose Basas had 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Mika Reyes also took care of PLDT’s net defense with three blocks for nine markers, as libero Kath Arado had 16 excellent receptions and 10 digs.
“I’m glad that my players are disciplined. They follow our orders. Whoever we field inside the court is ready to deliver,” Pascua said.
The Power Hitters had a rousing 11-4 start in the fourth set but the Lady Troopers kept them within striking distance, 15-14, behind the timely hits of Jem Gutierrez. Basas, Palomata, and Ceballos put on the finishing touches to seal their third win in four games.
The Lady Troopers slid to 2-2 in the solo fourth place.
Jovelyn Gonzaga was limited to 11-of-39 in attacking and had 20 digs. Joanne Bunag had 10 points as Army missed Royse Tubino, whose status with the team depends on her availability due to her schooling.
The Power Hitters dominated the Lady Troopers in all scoring departments with a 53-41 disparity in attacking, 6-1 advantage in aces, and 8-4 edge in blocking.