BATANGAS CITY — Petron flashed its championship stance as it destroyed neophyte New San Jose Builders, 25-20, 25-16, 25-8, in the 2016 PLDT Home Ultera Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference women’s volleyball tournament at the Batangas City Sports Coliseum.
Skipper Aiza Pontillas led the offensive assault but it was a total team effort for the Tri-Activ Spikers who clinched their third straight conquest to close the second round of this tourney bankrolleld by Asics, Mikasa, Senoh, Mueller and Grand Sports with TV5 as official broadcast partner.
Pontillas peppered the defense with 11 kills to finish with 12 points while Carmina Aganon and Maica Morada combined for 17 hits for Petron. The Tri-Activ Spikers are slowly developing into a heavy contender that could give three-time champion RC Cola-Army a run for its money.
Petron and RC Cola-Army will be clashing in the third round next week and are both tipped to advance to the final round where a team from Thailand will be coming in to contend for the crown.
Petron coach George Pascua admitted that winning over the Lady Troopers en route to the title is an uphill journey but at least they are on the right track.
“Although we like where we are right now, we can’t still afford to relax,” said Pascua, who led Petron to the All-Filipino and Grand Prix titles last year. “We still have yet to reach our peak. Ces (Molina) is not yet a hundred percent ready are some of us are still adjusting. We’re still a work in progress.”
But against the young Victorias, the Tri-Active Spikers hardly showed traces of slowing down.
After starting out slow and allowing New San Jose Builders to build a three-point lead to enter the second technical timeout of the first set, Petron roared back to life and pounced hard on the Victorias’ spotty defense and countless errors.
Aganon and Morada gave Petron the lead, 21-20, before Maizo finished the job with back-to-back hits from the opposite position to seal the first set victory and build enough momentum entering the second set.
“I told them that San Jose Builders is young and aggressive,” Pascua said, noting their impressive floor defense as reflected by their 26 excellent digs broke the back of their foes. “Hindi kami pwedeng mag-relax kaya bumuhos na kami nung second and third sets.”
Maribeth Lara tallied six points to lead the Victorias, who kissed the tournament goodbye without a single win in six games.
New San Jose Builders coach Ken Molleno, however, sees as a silver lining out of their cloudy performance.
“It’s okay; our battle is not the PSL, but the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association),” he said. “We may have failed to win a single game, but we learned so many lessons that we can apply when we play in the NCAA next year. This is a great exposure for us.”