PVL: Undermanned PLDT blanks Gerflor to stay in semis chase | Inquirer Sports

PVL: Undermanned PLDT blanks Gerflor to stay in semis chase

/ 03:56 PM July 15, 2023

PLDT High Speed Hitters in the PVL Invitational Conference

PLDT High Speed Hitters in the PVL Invitational Conference. –PVL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Fiola Ceballos stepped up to lead the short-handed PLDT past Gerflor, 25-18, 25-17, 26-24, to keep its semifinal hopes alive in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference on Saturday at Philsports Arena.

With Jovy Prado missing the game due to a left knee injury she sustained during their straight-set loss to Creamline two days ago, Ceballos showed the way for the High Speed Hitters with a game-high 13 points on top of nine digs and nine excellent receptions.

“We’re proud of Fiola because it was tough to lose Jov. We didn’t only miss her skills but also a leader inside the court. She is a big lost to our team, while Mean is also not yet 100 percent. But Fiola was able to fill in the void,” said PLDT coach Rald Ricafort in Filipino as Prado is still awaiting the final diagnosis of her MRI.

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Mean Mendrez also sat out as Ricafort bared that she is not yet 100 percent from her previous ankle injury.

PLDT’s bounce-back win forced a tie at 2-1 with Chery Tiggo, turning their Tuesday’s match a do-or-die game for the last semis berth in Pool A and ending Akari’s (2-1) contention for the next round.

The High Speed Hitters coach is ruling out Prado for their pivotal match.

PLDT Fiola Ceballos PVL

PLDT’s Fiola Ceballos. –PVL PHOTO

Dell Palomata scattered nine attacks, two blocks, and an ace to finish with 12 points for PLDT. Mich Morente and Royse Tubino had 11 and 10 points, respectively. Libero Kath Arado was hailed as the Player of the Game as she was everywhere with 20 digs and 11 receptions.

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The High Speed Hitters pulled away in the third with a 23-17 after scoring five straight points and reached match point, 24-19 of Ivy Perez’s service error.

However, Alyssa Bertolano saved a point before Mina Digal turned back time, scoring four straight points to force a deuce, 24-24, but Erika Santos came to the rescue with back-to-back hits off combination plays to end the match.

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Gerflor dropped to 0-3 in Pool A and will be relegated to the classification round after Tuesday’s match against the also-ran Akari.

Bertolano led the Defenders with 12 points and 14 receptions, while Digal had seven markers.

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TAGS: Gerflor Defenders, PLDT High Speed Hitters, PVL

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