RC Cola-Army breezed past a listless Cignal side, 25-16, 25-9, 25-23, to close its campaign in the preliminaries of the Asics Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix presented by PLDT Home Ultera on a high note last night at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan.
Skipper Jovelyn Gonzaga provided the spark for the Lady Troopers, who notched their fourth win in 10 games in this prestigious inter-club tourney bankrolled by Mikasa, Mueller, Senoh and Grand Sport with TV5 as official broadcast partner.
RC Cola-Army would face Generika while Cignal slid all the way to sixth place to book a duel with powerhouse F2 Logistics in the sudden-death playoff this Sunday in another explosive weekend double-header that is also sponsored by KLab Cyscorpions, Focus Athletics, Foton, Petron and F2 Logistics.
The winners would march to the semifinals where Foton and Petron are waiting. Semis battles are set on Dec. 3 at the Ibalong Centrum for Recreation in Legazpi City.
Foton and Petron, however, are still competing at press time to determine who would own the top spot.
One of the only two local players who saw action in both the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship and FIVB Women’s Club World Championship, Gonzaga fired 15 kills and a pair of aces to finish with 15 points, while Honey Royse Tubino stepped up with 10 markers for the Lady Troopers, who again failed to generate significant numbers from their imports.
Kierra Holst delivered only five points while Hailey Ripley had only four markers.
“If our imports couldn’t carry us, we would be the ones to carry them,” said Reyes, who aired his disappointment following a lethargic performance against F2 Logistics last Tuesday at the Imus Sports Center.
“This victory means that we are also capable of winning. However, it’s not yet showing up. Hopefully, we peak very soon. We still have one more week to prepare.”
Reyes admitted that they have yet to find their rhythm.
“Our main problem is that we still can’t find our rhythm. We have to work hard because other teams are already reaching their peak.”
Against Cignal, a team that lost its prized import in Olympian Lynda Morales to injury, the Lady Troopers were at their best.
But in the third set, the HD Spikers raced to a 10-8 start behind the powerful kills of Janine Marciano, Paneng Mercado and Laura Schaudt.
The Lady Troopers, however, quickly wiped it off and conquered a 23-21 lead off a sharp kill by Rachel Anne Daquis and another hit by Gonzaga. Marciano pulled Cignal closer with a kill from the open position, but she committed a service error in the ensuing play that put RC Cola-Army at match point.
Marciano and Schaudt finished with seven markers apiece to lead the HD Spikers, who looked promising at the start of the tournament before crashing with injuries.