• Perlas Spikers shock Water Defenders, stay alive

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    Perlas-BanKo leaned on sheer guts and a big fighting heart to stun BaliPure, 24-26, 13-25, 25-13, 25-22, 15-11, on Saturday and stay in the semifinal hunt in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.

    Kathy Bersola and Nicole Tiamzon supplied the firepower while Sue Roces, Ella de Jesus, Amanda Villanueva provided the experience and spunk as the Perlas Spikers rallied from two sets down and averted outright elimination in the mid-season conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.

    The victory evened Perlas-BanKo’s card at 3-3 for fourth while dropping BaliPure to fifth at 2-3 heading to the last four playdates of the single round elims of the tournament backed by Mikasa and Asics.

    BaliPure’s Grethcel Soltones defies Perlas-BanKo’s net defense made up of Kathy Bersola and Sue Roces during their PVL Open Conference clash at the Filoil Arena. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

    “We just tried to keep calm and stick to our game plan,” said Bersola, who punched in clutch hits in the last two sets.

    She added that the Perlas Spikers also showed maturity to stay alive.

    On the brink after dropping the first two sets, the Perlas Spikers broke away from a 9-all count in the third frame and took 16 of the next 20 points to extend the match. They trailed majority of the fourth but unleashed a strong finishing kick to force a decider which they controlled with a fiery start anchored on Tiamzon, Roces, Bersola and De Jesus.

    They built an 8-4 cushion going to the technical timeout in the fifth, went five-up at 12-7 on back-to-back Tiamzon hits before warding off the Water Defenders’ late charge with power shots from Villanueva, Bersola and De Jesus.

    “We have to sustain our momentum and must win our last game,” said Tiamzon, who finished with 20 attack points in powering the team to its second straight win following its victory over UP last Wednesday.

    Perlas-BanKo will take a one-week rest before closing out its elims assignment against semifinalist Creamline next Sunday.

    It was a sorry loss for the Water Defenders, who looked headed for a romp after a dominant second set romp. But they failed to stop the Perlas Spikers’ surge midway in the third and crumbled in the face of their rivals’ big fightback in the fourth.

    They pulled to within, 11-13, in the fifth on a Jerrili Malabanan quick hit but Bersola countered with her version of a quick attack and De Jesus finished off the Water Defenders with an off-the-block hit to punctuate their stirring come-from-behind victory.

    Earlier, unbeaten Mega Builders continued to build up confidence for the Final Four of the men’s tournament backed by Mikasa and Asics, beating Sta. Elena, 25-20, 25-20, 25-20, to stretch its win run to six.

    Sta. Elena dropped to joint third with Instituto Estetico Manila with 2-3 cards.

    Cignal likewise swept Air Force, 25-20, 25-21, 25-23, in a duel of the two other semifinalists. The HD Spikers improved to 5-1 while dropping the Jet Spikers to 4-2.

    Meanwhile, defending champion Pocari Sweat and Air Force gun for the semis seat as they take on Adamson and the Power Smashers, respectively, at resumption of PVL action today (Sunday).

    Both toting 3-1 cards, the Lady Warriors try to rebound from their setback to the early semifinalists Creamline Cool Smashers against the Lady Falcons at 6:30 p.m. after the 4 p.m. duel between the Lady Jet Spikers and the Power Smashers.

    Both women’s games will be aired live on Sports+Channel TV and via livestream on www.sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/pvl.

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