Generika finally snapped its string of misfortunes as it crushed Cignal, 25-15, 25-20, 25-22, to cop its first win in the Asics Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix on Saturday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
Ukrainian Polina Liutikova played tougher than usual, but it was a total team effort for the Lifesavers, who finally barged into the win column after absorbing nine straight setbacks in this prestigious club tourney sponsored by Mikasa, Mueller, Grand Sport and Senoh with TV5 as official broadcast partner.
With the win, the Lifesavers (1-9) gained a handsome chance of copping the fifth spot in the playoffs pending the result of the last assignments of the HD Spikers (1-7) against reigning champion Foton on Tuesday and RC Cola-Army on Thursday.
Based on the tournament format, the top two finishers in the double-round preliminaries will occupy the two automatic semifinal slots while the third seed would face No. 6 and the fourth seed would clash with no. 5 in sudden-death playoffs.
The winner between the third seed and no. 6 will clash with No. 2 while the survivor between the fourth seed and No. 5 would square off with No. 1 in another do-or-die semifinal showdown set on Dec. 3 at the Ibalong Centrum for Recreation in Legazpi City.
Generika coach Francis Vicente said that after they have posted a morale-boosting victory, they would train hard to pull off upsets of the heavyweights in the playoffs and, possibly, in the semifinals and the finals.
“I’m confident. We will not give up now that we’ve already won a game,” said Vicente, the University of the East head coach who nearly brought Philips Gold to the finals of this battle that also has Focus Athletics, KLab Cyscorpions, Petron, Foton and F2 Logistics as sponsors last year.
“We have a goal and we need to achieve it no matter what it takes.”
Liutikova, the 6-foot-4 blonde spiker, delivered seven kills and a pair of aces to finish with 10 points while Shaya Adorador chipped in nine markers for the Lifesavers, who dictated the tempo right at the opening serve using their solid blocking and reception.
Vicente, however, said the victory should be credited to the entire team.
“We won because we cooperated. They worked together and followed our game plan, that’s the good thing about it,” he said, adding that they never stopped talking both on offense and on defense.
“Our communication in the court was the turning point of this victory. We focused on this and not on individual skills because they already have it.”
Sandra Delos Santos nailed 12 points while Laura Schaudt had 11 markers for the HD Spikers, who failed to generate good numbers from the troika of Paneng Mercado, Mylene Paat and Janine Marciano while missing the services of their injured Puerto Rican import Lynda Morales.