The Generika Lifesavers completed a sweep of the second round of the women’s division at the 2014 Philippine SuperLiga Grand Prix presented by ASICS after they took down the Petron Blaze Spikers in an hour and 46 minutes, 18-25, 25-12, 25-20, 18-25, 15-11, in the final elimination round match held on November 26 at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna.
Both sides playing all-Filipino from the third set onwards, the Lifesavers went 2-1 in that span as Abigail Marano played the entire match to finish with a high of 20 points (14 attacks, two blocks, four service aces). They concluded the contest with a 6-2 spurt with Royce Estampa, Cha Cruz, and Michelle Gumabao holding the fort at the front row. Stephanie Mercado closed it out with an attack from the open side.
“Sabi namin (before the match) na as much as possible magamit yung second stringers kasi ilang matches na medyo off once na pinapasok sila. Kahit papaano mabigyan ng kumpiyansa,” shared Benson Bocboc, who took over head coaching duties for Ramil de Jesus as the latter had commitments with the De La Salle University-Manila women’s volleyball team. “Nakita rin namin yung kailangan namin i-adjust going to the semis.”
As for their semifinals opponent on Final Four Friday, Bocboc said, “Mabigat ang RC (Cola-Air Force). Kailangan paghandaan ng maayos. Ang daming threat. Aside from the imports, (sina Maika) Ortiz (and Joy) Cases hindi mo pwedeng hayaan.”
Bocboc also singled out Iari Yongco, whose status is still undetermined as of posting time as she is still recovering from a sprain she suffered in the five-set match against Cignal last week.
Mercado and Cruz combined for 23 markers, while Natalia Korobkova chipped in nine in two sets of action. The Lifesavers dominated the scoring skills departments with 53 attacks, eight blocks, and 14 service points.
Dindin Santiago topscored for Petron with 16 points, all via attacks, as Frances Molina and Carmina Aganon came up with 12 and ten markers. Alaina Bergsma played for a single set before Erica Adachi sat out two frames later.
Petron coach George Pascua admitted that he took the opportunity of trying out new combinations as his team’s playoff slot and semifinals meeting against Cignal were long determined.
“Yung mga locals minsan nagkakaroon ng miscommunication pagdating sa laro. Although nadadala ng imports namin, gusto ko mag-gel pa lalo,” Pascua stated.
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