The imports came strong as expected and complemented the numbers churned out by the locals as Petron jumpstarted its campaign with a rousing 25-18, 25-23, 25-14 triumph over Generika on the opening day on Saturday of 2016 Asics Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix presented by PLDT Home Ultera on Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan.
The Tri-Activ Spikers played like a well-oiled offensive machine in dismantling the Life Savers in just 71 minutes to win their first game of the interclub tourney bankrolled by Mikasa, Mueller, Grand Sport, Senoh, Focus Athletics, KLab Cyscorpions, Foton, Petron and F2 Logistics with TV5 as official broadcast partner.
American import Stephanie Niemer topped all scorers in her debut, finishing with 18 points on 15 spikes, three blocks and three service aces, including six digs to lead the way for Petron. Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and the new skipper Frances Molina chipped in 10 hits each, while the other reinforcement from United States, Serena Warner, added nine points.
“We’re happy that everybody performed well today. Hopefully, we could maintain this kind of performance and keep on improving because it’s a long way to go for all the squads this conference,” said the New Head Coach of Petron, Shaq Delos Santos, who replaced former mentor George Pascua before the start of the conference. “We have to step up and be more consistent with our skills and as a team because all teams are really strong with their imports.”
The Tri-Activ Spikers, who were the runners-up in last year’s Grand Prix, consistently carried the momentum up to the second set, building a 7-0 margin and extended it to a commanding 18-12 lead.
However, Generika managed to recover, scoring eight of the next 10 points to tie at 23-all. Petron stopped the bleeding with a great play capped by Maizo-Pontillas’ crosscourt hit to take the two-set advantage.
Petron caught fire in the third set, building an 18-12 lead and never looked back from there to win the match, nailing seven of the last nine points.
Despite the convincing performance, Delos Santos seeks to still improve the team’s chemistry, especially with their imports.
“Today they (imports) played all out but as of now, the imports are still familiarizing with the locals. I know that they could unleash more,” he said.
Darlene Ramdin, a Trinidad and Tobago national team member, was the lone double digits scorer for Generika finishing with 15 points on 13 attacks and a pair of aces in its losing effort. Ukrainian Polina Liutikova had nine hits as many as the production of local Ria Meneses.