Petron bounced back from a second-set mishap to dominate Generika-Ayala and shut down its preliminary round campaign on a sizzling note, 25-11, 23-25, 25-18, 25-19, in the Belo Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference on Thursday at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan.
Team captain Frances Molina and Mina Aganon were all fired up while Dancel Dusaran did a marvelous job manning the defense for the Blaze Spikers, who will march to the final round with a clean 5-0 win-loss slate in this prestigious women’s club tourney bankrolled by Mikasa, Senoh, Mueller and Asics with TV5 as official broadcast partner.
The Blaze Spikers will be joining idle Cignal and a Japanese guest team in Kobe Shinwa University in the final round of this battle that also has Gold’s Gym as official fitness partner and UCPB Gen as official insurance provider starting March 30.
Foton is also on the verge of making it to the final round pending the result of its match against Sta. Lucia Realty. The Tornadoes and the Lady Realtors are still competing at press time.
Meanwhile, Generika-Ayala kissed the final round chances goodbye as it fell to 2-3.
One of the seven Filipinas who competed in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship last year, Molina provided the firepower as she delivered 11 kills and a block to finish with 13 points while Aganon had all her 13 markers on spikers to underscore Petron’s dominance at the attack zone.
Not to be outdone, Dusaran tallied 12 of the Blaze Spikers’ 43 digs, making it easier for veteran setter Rhea Dimaculangan to map out the Blaze Spiker’ assault.
“I’m glad that we pulled it off,” said Petron coach Shaq Delos Santos, noting that their sluggish reception in the second set doomed their chances of finishing the job in straight sets.
“We struggled in the second set. Our first ball collapsed. We lost our receptions. That’s why we failed to create combination attacks. Fortunately, we were able to resolve this problem in the third set.”
True enough, Petron was on fire after that second set meltdown.
Although they started out slow, the Blaze Spikers were able to crawl back as Molina, Aganon and CJ Rosario turned a 1-4 deficit into a 16-8 lead entering the second technical timeout.
Aiza Maizo-Pontillas joined the fray as she uncorked a bomb from the service line for a 20-13 lead that completely zapped the life out of the Lifesavers.
Angeli Araneta and Gen Casugod led the scoring parade with 11 and 10 markers, respectively, for Generika-Ayala, which was relegated to the classification battle for 4th to 6th places together with Cocolife and Sta. Lucia.