Perlas carved out a shock five-setter over erstwhile unbeaten BaliPure, battling back from two sets then fighting off the Water Defenders’ rally for a 22-25, 22-25, 25-22, 25-16, 15-12 decision in the Premier Volleyball League at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan on Saturday.
The Perlas Lady Spikers refused to give despite dropping the first two sets and trailing majority of the third as they put up one big kill after another and foiled their rivals’ attack with superb floor coverage and solid net defense to force a decider.
They controlled the fifth, leading by as many as 12-5 but needed to toughen up in the end in the face of the Water Defenders’ fierce comeback at 12-14. But the Lady Spikers took care of the reception and worked on a play anchored on veteran Sue Roces, who scored on a running attack to wrap up the match in one hour and 44 minutes.
Perlas thus closed out its first round elims campaign with a 3-2 mark although it dropped to solo third as Pocari Sweat sustained its surge from 0-2 down to win its next four games, including an emphatic 25-21, 25-20, 25-16 rout of the Power Smashers in the other game.
The Lady Warriors moved to match point at 24-14 but lost the next two points on the Power Smashers’ off-the-block hit and a Myla Pablo mishit. But Jessie de Leon came through with an uncontested spike to clinch the victory, shoving the defending champions past the Water Defenders on top of the heap in the season-opening conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.
Roces wound up with 11 points, the same output put in by Nicole Tiamzon while former Ateneo stalwarts Amy Ahomiro and Dzi Gervacio topscored for Perlas with 17 and 16 hits, respectively.
Rysabelle Devanadera, another seasoned campaigner, backed them up with 10 markers while Kathy Bersola, Amanda Villanueva and Jem Ferrer combined for 11 hits for the Jerry Yee-mentored squad, which also rallied to beat the fancied BaliPure side in attack points, 61-56.
The Perlas Spikers also dominated the net, producing a whopping 11-block effort, six more than their rivals although they struggled in service reception, allowing the Water Defenders to score eight aces.
Big-hitting Grethcel Soltones fired 20 hits, including 18 kills, the last two putting BaliPure back in the hunt at 8-12, 9-12. But Perlas came out of a huddle in tough form, winning three of the last six points.
Risa Sato hammered in 14 points while Aiko Urdas came away with 13 hits and Jerrili Malabanan added nine markers. But the Water Defenders failed to close out the Spikers in the third and fourth sets and came out of the fifth a disorganized lot, enabling their rivals to seize control.
Earlier, Air Force stopped Instituto Estetico Manila, 25-23, 25-22, 25-20, in the lone men’s match in the league backed by Mikasa and Asics.
10 a.m. – Army vs Cignal (men’s)
1 p.m. – Creamline vs BaliPure (women’s)
4 p.m. – Pocari Sweat vs Air Force (women’s)
6:30 p.m. – Power Smashers vs Perlas (women’s)