“Believe me, I like it better if Milanovic played. Cignal came into this match with a total different psychology,” said Branislav, whose wards found themselves in trouble after Daquis converted a powerful kill to put Cignal ahead, 26-25, in the closing moment of the third set.
Klisura responded with a strong kill to equalize the battle, 26-26, before watching setter Acy Masangkay fumble on her attack that set the stage for Alkuino’s heroic block.
Branislav said this kind of character makes him believe that they are ready against Petron, a powerful team that is looking to win its first Grand Prix crown after three straight years of bridesmaid finishes.
Foton tapped college stars Diana Carlos and Isa Molde to help imports Channon Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago and Elizabeth Wendel of Canada to carry the scoring cudgels. Carlos will be formally making her PSL debut while Molde will be coming in as replacement to middle blocker Gen Casugod, who suffered a left knee injury in training.
“The most challenging part of this win was the weather. I find it too hot so I have to save energy all throughout the game. Every time we have an intense rally, we have to breathe and save our energy because it was too hot here,” said Perez, referring to the hot weather that soared up to 36 to 37 degrees.
She added that Smart pushed them to the limit, especially in the third set where Silva waxed hot and single-handedly towed the Giga Hitters back in the thick of things.
“Smart never gave up,” she said. “They always pushed us whenever we try to take the game away. And I think that’s a good thing for us.”