PLDT spikers close in on semis, stop R Suns
PLDT 4 0
Meralco 2 0
Cagayan Valley 2 1
Army 2 1
Navy 2 2
Perpetual 1 3
Baguio 1 3
Coast Guard 0 4
2 p.m. – Baguio vs Army
4 p.m. – Coast Guard vs Cagayan
It took PLDT Home Ultera an extra set but the Ultra Fast Spikers still did it, beating the Cagayan Valley Lady Rising Suns, 25-20, 25-22, 26-28, 25-18, Sunday to zero in on the first semifinal berth in the Shakey’s V-League Season 12-Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan City.
Alyssa Valdez unloaded 25 hits while Gretchel Soltones backed her up with a solid 21-point output as the Ultra Fast Spikers recovered from a close third set defeat with a big surge late in the fourth to hack out the one-hour, 50-minute victory before a crowd of 3,024.
After sweeping their first three matches without dropping a set, the Ultra Fast Spikers finally absorbed one when the Lady Rising Suns scored on a block and Valdez’s smash found the net in an extended, back-and-forth battle in the third.
But after another tight duel early in the fourth, the Ultra Fast Spikers re-imposed their strength on the net with Valdez and Soltones punching in the kills from all angles to power the team to their fourth straight victory in a match aired live over GMA News TV Channel 11.
The PLDT’s power duo combined for whopping 41 attacks with the team ending up with 62, 16 more than the former champions. The Ultra Fast Spikers also produced 11 blocks as against the Lady Rising Suns’ nine with ace setter Rubie de Leon putting in a 42-excellent set performance as against Cagayan’s 26 to likewise emerge as the game’s best player.
Defending champion Army fought back from an opening set setback and dealt Meralco its first defeat in three games with a 24-26, 25-17, 25-20, 25-22 victory in the other contest.
Rachel Ann Daquis and Dindin Santiago-Manabat combined for 29 as the Lady Troopers overpowered the Power Spikers, 56-41, to clinch the victory, their third against a lone loss to the Ultra Fast Spikers last week.
Aby Marano and Stephanie Mercado blasted in 12 hits apiece while Maica Morada, Faye Guevara and Fille Cainglet-Cayetano combined for 20 points for Meralco, which dropped to joint third with Cagayan Valley at 2-1.
“We knew for us to get through Cagayan’s defense, we need to have aggressive attacking the net and we did that today (yesterday),” said PLDT coach Roger Gorayeb.
While Valdez and Soltones sustained their firepower, Jaja Santiago took care of the defense upfront, scoring five blocks to finish with 11 hits.
But it didn’t come easy for PLDT as the Lady Rising Suns made the Ultra Fast Lady Spikers work for every point in a showdown of two of the top teams in the league sponsored by Shakey’s and presented by PLDT Home Ultera with Mikasa and Accel as chief backers.
“We came into this game knowing it will not be easy because we all know Cagayan is one of the more experienced teams here,” said Gorayeb.
Janine Nicole Marciano led Cagayan with 19 hits while Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, a former multiple MVP winner, added 13 points while Rose Vargas had nine markers and Marivic Meneses and Pau Soriano chipped in six hits apiece for the Lady Rising Suns, who dropped to 2-1.
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