Generika-Ayala flaunted their nerves of steel down the stretch to escape with a 25-23, 19-25, 25-22, 31-33, 15-11 victory over powerhouse Petron in the in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference yesterday at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Despite falling short in the grueling fourth set that needed eight set points to be decided, the Lifesavers did not lose steam as veterans Patty Orendain and Angeli Araneta delivered the goods for the Lifesavers in this prestigious club tourney bankrolled by Isuzu, UCPB Gen and SOGO Hotel with ESPN5, Hyper HD and Aksyon TV as broadcast partners.
Earlier, the Philippine national women’s team shut down their campaign on a high note as they dominated Smart-Army, 25-16, 25-17, 25-17, in the first match of this triple bill that also has Senoh, Asics, Mikasa, Mueller and Grand Sport as technical sponsors.
Less than half of the 20 players in the pool showed up for the Nationals in their previous games but they still managed to pull off convincing wins over Cocolife, Cignal and Smart-Army.
“We’re happy with the performance of the team. We haven’t trained yet and we’re always incomplete during games” said national squad Coach Shaq Delos Santos.
“We’re not so prepared for the Invitationals but we are so proud because all the players who played performed their best.”
“Hopefully, this is the start of the good relationship of the team.”
Santiago led the way with 15 points off 12 kills including seven excellent receptions while Mylene Paat, MJ Phillips and Maika Ortiz chipped in seven points apiece for the Nationals, who also drew impressive numbers from Dindin Santiago-Manabat and CJ Rosario.
But the day belonged to Rebecca Rivera who was named as player of the game after pacing the team with 23 excellent sets on top of nine digs and four points.
Libero Denden Lazaro was also instrumental 12 digs and seven excellent receptions.
Delos Santos added that although they are still far from their best form for the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta this August, they still gained a lot of experience from the PSL.
“We learned to accept whatever we have in each games and no matter what happens. The players learned to adjust even we’re not complete,” he said.
But the day belonged to the Lifesavers who are already assured of a spot in the quarterfinals with a 3-1 win-loss slate.
Orendain topscored with 23 points while Araneta scattered 15 kills, three blocks and a pair of service aces for 20 hits.
“We’re lucky that the breaks of the fifth set belonged to us,” Generika-Ayala Head Coach Sherwin Meneses said. “I just told them that we have nothing to lose against Petron because it is a strong team. I believe in my team because we have a balanced line-up and anyone can contribute.”
Fiola Ceballos was also instrumental with 13 points, including 22 digs and 16 excellent receptions. Libero Kat Arado protected the floor with 42 digs and 16 receptions while setter April Hingpit made 43 excellent sets.
Petron lost their first game sliding to the third place of Pool A with a 2-1 card. Aiza Maizo-Pontillas had 14 points in a losing cause.
Bernadeth Pons and Mika Reyes delivered 13 markers apiece, while Sisi Rondina added 10 markers.
July 14 Muntinlupa Sports Center
Tickets available at gate
4pm Cignal vs Cocolife
6pm Petron vs @F2Cargomovers
Both games live at AksyonTV and Cignal’s Hyper