• Petron Blaze, Philippine Army face off in Pilipinas Super Liga women’s volleyball

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    The Petron Blaze Spikers collide with title-favorite TMS-Philippine Army Lady Troopers even as Cagayan Valley Lady Rising Suns shoot to keep their unbeaten record on Friday in the Pilipinas Super Liga Invitationals at The Arena in San Juan.
    Petron got big games from Maika Ortiz, Angeli Tabaquero and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas as the Blaze Spikers rebounded from a straight-set opening day setback with a 25-22, 25-19, 17-25, 25-19 win against the PLDT MyDSL Surfers who won in the first day of the tournament.
    Ortiz tallied 22 points while Tabaquero and Maizo-Pontinllas each had 13 markers for Petron which dropped its first game surprisingly easy against Team Cignal on day one.
    “They really worked hard on their gelling on the court,” Petron mentor Vivet Ponce de Leon, also an assistant coach in the University of Santo Tomas’ women’s team, said.
    But the Blaze Spikers’ familiarity will be heavily tested against the title contender TMS-Philippine Army which boasts of the top veteran players in the country.
    The Lady Troopers are fresh from their first win of the tourney after Nerissa Bautista, Joanne Bunag and Michelle Carolino combined for 32 points with Tina Salak giving them 31 excellent sets and three additional blocks in their 25-22, 25-15, 25-27, 25-18 conquest of Team Cignal.
    “This is a big achievement for the entire Armed Forces. They are expecting so much from us and this win proves that we’re living up to their high expectation,” said Army coach Rico de Guzman.
    With both teams having popular players in their lineups like Lady Blazers Ortiz, Maizo, Gretchen Ho and Fille Cainglet and Lady Troopers Bautista, Michelle and Mayette Carolino and Mary Jean Balse, fireworks are expected when Petron and Army collide at the 4 p.m.
    The Cagayan Valley Lady Rising Suns try to keep their record immaculate against PLDT MyDSL at 2 p.m.
    Cagayan, another heavy contender, leads the six-team field with two wins and four points.
    Joy Benito, Joy Cases and reigning NCAA MVP Sandra delos Santos are expected to play the predators role after they combined for 48 points in their five set win against PCSO Bingo Milyonaryo on Wednesday.
    Team Cignal will try to bounce back from a loss while the Puffins look for their first Super Liga win at 6 p.m.

    JIM WILSON

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