Reigning titlist Petron finally flaunted its championship form as it made quick, merciless work of Meralco, 25-15, 25-14, 25-19, in the 2015 Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix women’s volleyball tournament yesterday at The Arena in San Juan.
The Blaze Spikers, who suffered a stinging five-set loss to Cignal in the opener, were flawless all throughout the entire one hour and five minutes of battle to notch their first win in this prestigious inter-club tourney presented by Asics and backed by Milo with Mikasa, Senoh and Mueller as technical partners.
Petron reinforcement Rupia Inck waxed hot and took advantage of the absence of Meralco import Christina Alessi, who sat out in the latter part of the match due to ankle sprain.
A former member of the Brazilian juniors national team, Inck fired eight kills, two blocks and five aces to finish with 15 points while Dindin Manabat was in her usual deadly self as she tallied 10 hits and two blocks for 12 points for Petron, which had a statement game following that shocking loss to the HD Spikers.
“It was a challenge for us,” said Petron coach George Pascua. “I told them that we need to recover quickly by scoring a straight-set win to boost our morale. I’m glad that we pulled it through.”
Meralco, which is composed of the nucleus of University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) heavyweight De La Salle University, started out slow with Alessi riding the bench early due to injury.
Its other import, Estonian Liis Kullerkann, was also a non-factor, allowing Inck and Manabat to take turns in peppering the defensive blanket of the Power Spikers.
The only significant run Meralco had was in the tail-end of the third set when it scored five straight points before Fille Cayetano sealed the win with drop shot.
“We’re still a work in progress,” said Meralco coach Ramil de Jesus, who missed their opening game against Foton due to personal reason. “Christina has a sprained ankle so we decided not to field her. Our locals are also struggling because of their classes. So it’s really difficult. We’re starting out slow.”
Veteran Cha Cruz was the lone bright spot for Meralco as she finished with seven kills, three blocks and two aces for 12 points.
Games Oct 15 (The Arena, San Juan)
4:15 pm — Meralco vs RC Cola-Air Force (Live TV5)
6:15 pm — Petron vs Foton (9pm on AksyonTV)
Both matches are live on the sports5.ph livestream.
Click for official scoresheet