Cocolife bucked a lethargic start to overcome the gallant stand of Cherrylume-UE, 22-25, 25-13, 25-22, 25-18, in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference yesterday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
Despite missing ace libero Denden Lazaro due to family vacation, the Asset Managers still managed to weather the hard-fighting Iron Lady Warriors to gain their first win in Pool B of this prestigious club tourney bankrolled by Isuzu, UCPB Gen and SOGO Hotel with ESPN5, Hyper HD and Aksyon TV as broadcast partners.
After finding themselves down in the fourth set, Juliet Catindig came through with some big hits to help the Iron Lady Warriors turn a 12-19 deficit into 16-20.
But three straight errors doomed UE-Cherrylume’s chances allowing Cocolife to inch closer to set point 23-16 en route to the victory in this tourney that also has Senoh, Mueller, Grand Sport, Asics and Mikasa as technical sponsors.
Former De La Salle University standout Gyra Barroga proved her worth in her first club game as she led Cocolife with 17 points built on 12 attacks, four blocks and an ace.
Alex Tan chipped in 15 hits while Justine Tiu added nine markers, including 18 digs and eight receptions.
“There were mistakes that were not good for my team because the players relaxed a little,” Cocolife head coach Moro Branislav said.
“I understand that we are still calculating since it was our first game with my new players but it was an important big win in the new life of Cocolife.”
Cocolife squandered a precarious 20-19 lead in the opening set as UE-Cherrylume tied it thrice, 22-all, before an error from skipper Aerieal Patnongon put the Iron Lady Warriors ahead, 23-22.
Judith Abil nailed back-to-back hits to draw the first blood.
The Asset Managers bounced back strong in the second set routing the Iron Lady Warriors with a 22-11 spread and never looked back to equalize the match.
Their momentum spilled over the third set to erect a safe 23-15 lead.
The Iron Lady Warriors never wavered as Abil and Mary Anne Mendrez scored four of their seven straight points to cut the deficit to just two 21-23 until Abil committed a crucial service error that paved the way for Tan to attack and take a 2-1 set lead.
Abil and Mendrez scored 12 and 11 points for Cherrylume-UE who only have a few hours to recover as they battle defending champion Cignal on June 26 at the same venue.
June 26 Games at the FilOil San Juan, P100 at the gate
415pm Generika-Ayala vs Foton
7pm Cignal HD vs UE-Cherrylume
Games are live on ESPN5 and Cignal’s Hyper