After dropping their first game via a sorry five-set loss to Cignal in the opener, the Petron Blaze Spikers stormed back and crushed the Power Spikers in three sets before pulling off a thrilling 21-25, 25-20, 25-13, 12-25, 15-9 conquest of Foton before another good weekday crowd at The Arena in San Juan late Thursday.
Dindin Manabat came up with an inspired performance as she fired 24 kills and four blocks for a total of game-high 28 points against the Tornadoes. Foton paraded their gem of a rookie in her younger sister, national team mainstay Jaja Santiago, as well as American reinforcements Lindsay Stalzer and Katie Messing.
With the win, Petron climbed to the third spot of the team standing with a 2-1 win-loss card while Cignal remains on top with 2-0 followed by RC Cola-Air Force, which had an oozing debut following a five-set victory over Meralco also last Thursday.
“Our loss in the opening day serves as a lesson and an eye-opener for us to play better,” said Petron coach George Pascua, the architect of the Blaze Spikers 13-0 sweep in the previous All-Filipino Conference. “We have to work hard and put our best foot forward every game because the PSL is no ordinary tournament; everybody is capable of pulling an upset.”
So far, four of the tournament’s first six matches have extended to five sets, a testament of the depth, balance, quality and excitement of the competition.
“This is an entirely different ballgame,” added Pascua, noting that Philips Gold will not be an easy foe as it features an exciting playmaker in Lindsay Dowd as well as hard-hitting spikers in Myla Pablo, Michele Gumabao with Bojana Todorovic and Alexis Olgard serving as imports. “We have to play hard from start to finish if we want to come up with a victory.”
Click for a photo set on Facebook by Roman Prospero
Games Saturday (Cuneta Astrodome)
P100 for both games, buy tickets at the gate
1 pm Cignal vs Meralco (Live on TV5 and AksyonTV)
3 pm Petron vs Philips Gold (Live on AksyonTV)