The Petron Blaze Spikers revved up their engines in the third and fourth sets to blast the Generika Lifesavers, 25-21, 21-25, 25-15, 25-9, and win their first Philippine SuperLiga championship on November 30 at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay.
PSL Grand Prix MVP Alaina Bergsma led the way with 24 points as Generika coach Ramil de Jesus was left to ponder on how to stop the University of Oregon alumna, who made zone two her domain. She fired at will in her team’s third set comeback and again in the fourth frame.
“Overwhelming kasi first time namin mag-champion,” said Petron head coach George Pascua. “They did their best especially in the fourth set. Kasi sabi ko once na umabot pa ng fifth set, ibang usapan yun. Doon na lalabas yung championship experience ng kalaban.”
Women’s division second best blocker Dindin Santiago concluded with 14 points, four of which were blocks and three were service aces. Unheralded Frances Molina was the third cog in Petron’s attack formation with 12 markers.
PSL GP best setter Erica Adachi had 44 excellent sets, while best libero Jennylyn Reyes had nine digs and eight receptions in a match where her number was barely called as the frontline did its job.
“Kasama sa gameplan namin yun. Hindi ko pinagtapat si Bergsma at si (Natalia) Korobkova. Umatake kami doon sa setter nila na maliit. Naging successful naman,” Pascua shared. “Si Korobkova laging dalawa ang blockers ang ginawa ko sa kanya. Once na mag-dalawang blockers, medyo nahihirapan siyang pumalo.”
The Blaze Spikers will represent the PSL and the country in next year’s AVC Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship to be held in Vietnam.
“Kukunin ko yung dalawa (imports) plus reinforcement galing ibang team,” Pascua shared on his team’s composition for the continental tournament.
Korobkova, who is the conference’s best opposite spiker, topscored for the Lifesavers with 15 points, while first best blocker Abigail Marano had 11, three of which were block points. Stephanie Mercado finished with seven attacks and three blocks.
Generika would always start off hot with Miyuu Shinohara serving. However, as the set progressed, Petron would get its bearing and recover. The second frame had the Blaze Spikers momentarily disoriented with a call not going their way after Santiago was called for a check ball, the Lifesavers going ahead, 20-17.
“Sabi ko sa mga players ko na hindi bale na ako ang ma-yellow card, ako yung magma-manage ng referee,” Pascua expressed. “Right ko yun na i-contest para maging aware ang mga referee. Hindi ko kino-contest yung judgment call niya.”
After a slow start in the third set where Petron Blaze trailed by as many as six, Molina, Santiago, Adachi, Maica Morada, and Mina Aganon went to work before Bergsma took over for a 20-4 scoring run. They did not let up in the fourth frame as they had Generika on the ropes with Fille Cainglet-Cayetano scoring the championship point. (Check out the video below of the championship point courtesy of user jus0402)
“Gusto ko ma-involve sila sa history na mangyayari,” as the Far Eastern University alumnus mentor emptied his bench to let all of his players enjoy the moment.
Completing the individual awardees in the season-ending tournament were Lindsay Stalzer of Cignal for first best outside spiker and Emily Brown of RC Cola-Air Force for second best outside spiker.
Click for a photo set on Facebook by Roman Prospero
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