After vowing to a very fluid Rexona-Sesc Rio side in the opener, PSL-F2 Logistics Manila battle Pomi Casalmaggiore of Italy today in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship presented by PLDT at the Mall of Asia Arena, pressed to come up with a win that would keep the host team in the fight for medals.
Action starts at 7:30 pm with the home squad– regarded as the heavy underdog in this world-class match organized by the Philippine Superliga and Eventcourt with TV5, Petron, Asics, BMW and F2 Logistics as sponsors, Diamond Hotel as official residence and Turkish Airlines as official airline.
Prior to that, Asian powerhouses Bangkok Glass and Hisamitsu Springs collide at 10 am while star-studded Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul tests the mettle of Rexona-Sesc Rio at 1 pm before VakifBank Istanbul faces Volero Zurich at 4:30 pm in the third day of this tourney that is also backed by the Philippine Sports Commission, Rexona, Mall of Asia Arena, Foton and Price Waterhouse Cooper with Mikasa, Gerflor and Jinling as technical sponsors.
Meanwhile, Volero Zurich hammered an easy 25-19, 25-15, 25-17 win over Hisamitsu Springs Kobe to move closer to the next round yesterday.
Olesia Rykhliuk delivered 15 kills for a total of 19 points for the Swiss champion, which dominated the Japanese in the attack department (44-28), blocks (11-1) and aces (3-2).
But the home squad remains as the team to watch.
Buoyed by a massive crowd, PSL-F2 Logistics Manila brushed off a sluggish start as it gamely engaged Rexona-Sesc Rio in furious exchanges featuring long rallies and great defensive effort. Skipper Rachel Anne Daquis led the crew while Mika Reyes, Jaja Santiago and Kim Fajardo jumped in to help imports Stephanie Niemer and Lindsay deliver the numbers.
With Niemer and Stalzer at the firing end, PSL-F2 Logistics Manila erected a 14-7 advantage in the third set, leaving Rexona-Sesc legendary coach Bernardo Rezende fuming in frustration.
But the Brazilians quickly nibbled on the deficit and trimmed it to just within one, 15-16, en route to sealing a 25-15, 25-13, 25-20 victory.
Niemer, the reinforcement of Petron in the 2016 PSL Grand Prix, finished with 12 kills for 13 points while Yevgeniya Nyukhalova had eight markers for the home team, which was showered with overwhelming support and adulation by a full-house crowd from start to finish.
“That was the kind of game, the kind of attitude I want to see on my team,” said PSL-F2 Logistics coach Moro Branislav, who opened the training camp for this prestigious tournament last month.
“Any team that prepared for only 25 days has zero chance of winning against big-league teams like Rexona. Believe me, every single point was a problem for them. Maybe if we won one set, it will not be a good result for them to take. A team who will lose one set to the Philippines will not finish this tournament.”
The Italians, however, are no pushovers.
Bannered by Olympic bronze medalist Carli Lloyd of the United States and Valentina Tirrozi and Lucia Bosseti of Italy and Samanta Fabris of Croatia, the reigning European champions had a gallant stand before falling to a 25-17, 25-18, 25-15 setback to reigning titlist Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul.
Pomi Casalmaggiore, however, still has a chance to redeem itself as it is competing against Rexona-Sesc Rio at press time.
“The team has yet to jell and we made a lot of mistakes, a lot of foul balls,” said Pomi Casalmaggiore coach Giovanni Caprara following their setback to the star-studded Turkish club bannered by Tijana Boskovic, Thaisa Daher Pallesi, Jordan Larson, Rachel Adams and Tatiana Kosheleva.
“We still have two games left in the preliminaries. We might as well make the best out of it.”