Petron bounced back from a second-set disaster to pull off a 25-21, 26-24, 25-21, 25-18 conquest of Generika-Ayala in the Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference yesterday at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.
National team stalwart Frances Molina waxed hot as the Blaze Spikers caught fire in the third and fourth sets to complete the victory in this prestigious club tourney bankrolled by Gold’s Gym, Rebisco and Belo with TV5 as official broadcast partner.
Molina had an impressive all-around performance with 15 kills, three blocks and two aces for 20 points while veteran Aiza Maizo-Pontillas submitted 17 markers for the Blaze Spikers, who missed the strong offensive presence of spitfires Cherry Rondina and Bernadeth Pons.
Rondina, the high-flying University of Santo Tomas star, delivered seven points, but was fielded sparingly after sustaining an ankle sprain while Pons didn’t suit up to attend her graduation ceremonies.
With the victory, the Blaze Spikers are now tied with rival Cignal at the second spot of Pool C behind unbeaten Foton with a 3-1 win-loss card, turning their clash tomorrow a highly-anticipated affair.
But Petron coach Shaq Delos Santos was far from satisfied, especially after suffering a second-set meltdown due to their 13 errors and the Lifesavers three service aces.
“We relaxed in the second set,” said Delos Santos, who was part of the coaching staff when Petron tallied a clean sweep of this conference that also has Senoh, Mueller, Mikasa, Asics and Grand Sport as technical sponsors two years ago.
“We lost our composure and our rhythm in the second set. Nawala ang gigil. I’m glad we were able to bounce back in the third and fourth sets.”
True enough, Petron made a resounding rebound in the third set, capturing a 14-5 advantage before Generika-Ayala moved closer, 13-19.
But the Blaze Spikers couldn’t be denied as Molina connected on an off-the-block attack for the set point before unleashing a booming kill from the open spot.
“But the job is not yet done,” said Delos Santos. “It’s going to be tough from here. Everybody is looking for good position in the quarterfinals so we expect a tough fight from our next opponents.”
Patty Jane Orendain had 13 kills for a total of 14 points while Angeli Araneta and Fiola Ceballos chipped in 13 markers apiece for the Lifesavers, who absorbed their second loss in four matches.