STA. ROSA CITY – Petron hung tough down the stretch to book a scary 14-25, 25-16, 22-25, 25-18, 15-13 victory over Foton to preserve its clean slate in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix Saturday at the Sta. Rosa Sports Center.
After a rusty start, the Blaze Spikers stormed back before surviving the Tornadoes’ furious rally in the deciding set en route to their sixth straight victory in this prestigious club league bankrolled by Rebisco, Isuzu and UCPB Gen with ESPN5 as official broadcast partner.
Hillary Hurley came through 19 kills and two blocks for 21 points while Lindsay Stalzer delivered 11 kills, three blocks and three aces for 17 points for the Blaze Spikers, who remain unbeaten in six matches in this tourney that also has Mikasa, Asics, Senoh, LGR and Grand Sport as technical sponsors.
Meanwhile, Serbian sensation Sara Klisura waxed hot to lead Cocolife to a 25-19, 25-16, 21-25, 25-17 win over Generika-Ayala in the first game.
Klisura, who dazzled the crowd with her electrifying performance, delivered a solid all-around effort as she fired 19 kills, four blocks and three aces while Taylor Milton, Royse Tubino and Joanne Bunag backed her up at the attack zone with 13, 11 and 10 markers, respectively.
“Sara is an excellent player,” said Cocolife coach Moro Branislav, referring to her prized ward who played for him at the club level in Serbia before reuniting with him at Foton last year.
“For my opinion, she is a very good player. She’s a good scorer who commits very little mistakes. That’s why in the fourth set, after Generika won the third set, we decided to give (the ball) to Sara. It’s good that she delivered and helped us get this victory.”
Still, the day belonged to the Blaze Spikers.
After coasting to five consecutive wins, Petron found itself in big trouble as Foton, a two-time Grand Prix champion, showed up prepared and ready for the kill.
“Definitely there’s some pressure there,” said Hurley, whose team figured in its first five-set encounter of the season.
“But I told my (teammates) that if we keep that out of my mind, if we play more as a team, then it would be easier.”
The Tornadoes threatened to pull the rug from under the Blaze Spikers, but Stalzer and Hurley caught fire in the fourth set to force a decider.
With Stalzer at the firing end, Petron raced to an 8-4 advantage in the early stretch of the fifth set, but Brooke Kranda and the Tornadoes restored order and tied the count at 9.
Petron fought back as Remy Palma connected on a quick kill at the middle followed by an ace from Rhea Dimaculangan to claim the match point, 14-11.
Although Kranda and Elizabeth Wendel tried to further stretch the match with back-to-back hits, Stalzer delivered a beautiful place shot from the right flank to seal the victory.
“I think tonight we did great,” Hurley added. “This is a perfect opportunity for us to learn because we haven’t been to a five-setter and any pressure moment yet so I’m really proud of my team for stepping up.”
Kranda had 17 kills to finish with 18 points while Wendel and Manabat finished with 16 and 15 points for the Tornadoes who suffered their third loss in five starts.
#PSLGrandPrix Tue Mar 13 at Imus Sports Center
415pm Smart Prepaid v Generika-Ayala (Live ESPN5)
7pm Sta Lucia v F2 Logistics (11:15pm on ESPN5)
Both games live on Cignal’s HYPER
Tickets available at the gate, SM Tickets or online: https://smtickets.com/events/search/prix
For Overseas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mybx3xr8qfk&list=PLeG-vQUcskAhmd1bRFRtYtzS1b-6L1Q_l