Generika-Ayala competed with limited personnel, but it didn’t matter as it still played an inspired ballgame to hack a 25-16, 25-15, 25-21 victory over Iriga City in the Chooks To Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix on Thursday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Import Darlene Ramdin spent most of the time on the bench as the Lifesavers coasted to their second victory in this prestigious club tourney bankrolled by Cignal, Mikasa, Senoh, Mueller, Grand Sport, Rebisco, Island Rose, Cloudfone and UCPB Gen.
A national team member of Trinidad and Tobago, Ramdin was diagnosed with diarrhea, prompting Generika-Ayala head coach Francis Vicente to give her very limited minutes of action in this battle that also has Gold’s Gym and Gerflor as sponsors and ESPN5 as broadcast partner.
“She’s dehydrated,” said Vicente, who fielded Ramdin for a very brief period in the second set. “But she’s now okay. We just don’t want to force her so she’ll be up and ready in our next game against F2 Logistics next week.”
With Ramdin at sickbay, Croatian Katerina Pilepic picked the cudgels hounding and pounding the Lady Oragons’ defense from start to finish.
Pilepic, the former Arizona star, finished with 15 kills, three aces and two blocks for 20 points while Angeli Araneta chipped in 13 markers for the Lifesavers, who marched into the warzone with a fighting mindset despite the absence of their top spiker.
“It’s all about having the proper mindset,” said Vicente, who is also the head coach of the women’s national team that campaigned in the Asian Senior Women’s Championship and the 29th Southeast Asian Games recently.
“They were very motivated, relaxed and happy. They gained confidence and enjoyed the game.”
The Lifesavers were brilliant at the attack zone with 43 kills compared to the Lady Oragons’ 28. They also ruled the block, 6-1, and service departments, 7-4, to underscore their dominance and step back on the winning track after absorbing back-to-back losses.
Serbian import Tamara Kmezic was the lone bright spot on offense with 13 kills and a block for 15 points while Japanese spiker Saama Miyagawa had a quiet seven markers for the Lady Oragons, who are trying to move on from the absence of star spiker Grethcel Soltones.
Soltones was slapped with a lifetime ban and a hefty fine for playing in an exhibition match, which is a violation in the PSL’s “one-league” policy.
Meanwhile, Petron made short work of guest team Victoria Sports-University of Santo Tomas, 25-16, 25-14, 25-14 in the second game.
Coming off a sorry four-set loss to F2 Logistics, the Blaze Spikers jumped the gun early and never looked back to conquer their fourth win in five games.
Aiza Maizo-Pontillas delivered 10 points while Remy Palma and import Lindsay Stalzer had eight markers apiece for the Blaze Spikers, who had the luxury of shuffling their personnel to give the college girls a very good fight.
“We wanted to regain our confidence,” said Petron coach Shaq Delos Santos, whose wards battered the Tigresses at the attack zone, 45-26. “This is a great bounce back win for us.”
Dimdim Pacres was the lone bright spot with 10 points for Victoria Sports-UST, which fell to 0-2.