Sta. Lucia Realty sent powerhouse Petron crashing back to earth as it carved out a masterful 25-18, 25-21, 25-17 victory in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix April 5 at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The Lady Spikers pounced hard on the cold and sluggish Blaze Spikers from start to finish en route to a massive conquest in this prestigious women’s club tourney bankrolled by Isuzu and UCPB Gen with ESPN5 as official broadcast partner.
With the win, the Lady Realtors now fashion a 4-5 win-loss card giving them a slight chance of stealing one of the four twice-to-beat incentives in the quarterfinal round of this battle that also has Senoh, Mikasa, Asics, LGR and Grand Sport as technical sponsors.
Sta. Lucia has to beat winless Smart while hoping that Cocolife (5-3) would drop its next two matches in the classification phase.
“Whatever happens, this win is a huge morale-booster for us,” said Pascua, who is very familiar with the Blaze Spikers after guiding them to a sweep of the All-Filipino Conference in 2015.
Ukrainian reinforcement Dana Anisova delivered 13 kills and an ace to finish with 14 points while MJ Philips and Marisa Field chipped in 13 and 10 markers for the Lady Realtors who marched to the battlefield with fire in their eyes knowing that the Blaze Spikers have yet to lose in their first eight games.
“I told them that all of you are volleyball players. Whoever has the desire will definitely get the victory,” said Pascua.
“I notice that we always lack mental toughness down the stretch. That’s why we had a training session to improve our mental toughness and to believe that we can beat an elite team like Petron.”
True enough, the Lady Realtors played their hearts out especially in the third set where they entered the second technical timeout with a huge 16-7 lead.
Anisova, Philips and Jonah Sabete continued the rout to put the Lady Realtors at match point, 24-14. Although Lindsay Stalzer tried to pump life into their flickering chances, Field connected a strong hit from the middle to essay the victory.
American imports Lindsay Stalzer and Hillary Hurley tallied 19 and 15 markers for the Blaze Spikers who struggled all game long due to misreceptions and turnovers.
They tallied 28 errors while the presence of Japanese libero Yuri Fukuda was hardly felt giving the Lady Realtors a golden chance to become the first team to tarnish their sterling record in just 77 minutes of action.
Meanwhile F2 Logistics recovered from a cold start to clobber Cignal, 23-25, 27-25, 25-16, 25-23 in the second game.
Imports Kennedy Bryan and Maria Jose Perez spearheaded the balanced attack to tow the Cargo Movers to a win away from sweeping the second round.
It was the eighth win of the Cargo Movers in nine matches, forging a tie with Petron, which suffered its first loss after falling prey to Sta. Lucia Realty in the first match, 25-18, 25-21, 25-17.
With that, F2 Logistics has a golden chance to steal the top seed in the quarterfinals pending the outcome of its final match in the classification phase.
Bryan delivered 13 kills, two blocks and an ace for 16 points while Perez chipped in 14 markers for the Cargo Movers, who banked on their solid blocking as well as the steady offensive performance of Ara Galang and Aby Maraño.
Serbian import Sonja Milanovic delivered 27 markers while American Jeané Horton had 23 points for the HD Spikers, who fell to sixth place after absorbing their sixth loss in nine matches.
April 7 Batangas Sports and Convention Center
Tickets available at the gate
4 pm – Foton vs Generika-Ayala
6 pm – Cocolife vs Smart