The Perlas Spikers charged back late in the first two sets then dominated the third to fashion out a 27-25, 26-24, 25-19 victory over the Power Smashers and bolster their semifinal drive in the Premier Volleyball League at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan on Saturday.
Import Rupia Inck put on a superb all-around game of 14 kills, three blocks and two aces while Japanese playmaker produced 25 excellent sets and finished with six hits as the Spikers finished off the Power Smashers in 75 minutes.
The victory was Perlas’ fifth against three losses, assuring the team of at last a playoff for the last Final Four seat in the season-opening conference of the league organized by Sports Vision and backed by Mikasa and Asics.
The Power Smashers dropped to 3-4 but stayed at fourth although now just half-a-game ahead of the fifth-running Creamline (2-3), which is playing the in-form Pocari Sweat at presstime.
The jump-serving Dzi Gervacio, who fueled Perlas’ fightback in the opening frame, also came up with 11 hits, while former league MVP Sue Roces had nine markers and Kathy Bersola and Amy Ahomiro each had six points.
Perlas also leaned on its solid blocking to frustrate the Power Smashers, finishing with 10, seven more than their rivals, although the Spikers struggled with their service reception, yielding seven aces.
Thais Kannika Tipachot and Hyapa Amporn combined for 29 hits but failed to draw solid support from the locals with Jovelyn Prado scoring eight and Dimdim Pacres, Katherine Villegas and Alina Bicar combining for 11 markers for the Power Smashers.
The Spikers rallied strong in the opening set, overcoming a 21-24 deficit by winning six of the last seven points, snatching the set on the Power Smashers’ back-to-back errors.
It was more of the same in the second with the Power Smashers taking control early and the Spikers battling back to win on deuce points again before the latter poured it all out in the third which they controlled three-fourths of the way.
Earlier, Air Force outlasted Cignal in an extended first set thriller then reasserted its might in the next two as the Jet Spikers stopped the erstwhile unbeaten HD Spilers, 30-28, 25-19, 25-21, to tie their victims at 3-1 in the men’s tournament.
Fauzi Ismail blasted in 15 hits while Jeffrey Malabanan and Alnakran Abdilla fired 10 points apiece and Kim Malabunga added nine markers as the Jet Spikers matched the HD Spikers’ 41 attack points but won on blocks, 5-4, and service aces, 4-3.
Mark Alfafara turned in a 12-hit game but Lorenzo Capate, Rex Intal and Ysrael Marasigan were held to nine points each as Cignal took its first defeat after beating Instituto Estetico Manila, Café Lupe and Army.
Meanwhile, action resumes today with Perlas taking on BaliPure and Creamline clashing with the Power Smashers.
4 p.m. – Perlas vs BaliPure (women’s)
6:30 p.m. – Creamline vs Power Smashers (women’s)