RC Cola Army and Petron Close Eliminations on High Note 

Three-time champion RC Cola-Army and Petron displayed their might as they clobbered their respective foes to remain on top of the 2016 PLDT Home Ultera Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference women’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

The Lady Troopers made short work of Cignal, 25-16, 25-14, 25-19, while the Tri-Activ Spikers survived another slow start before pouncing on Foton, 14-25, 25-16, 25-22, 25-7, to close the elimination round of this prestigious inter-club tourney bankrolled by Asics, Mikasa, Senoh, Mueller and Grand Sport with TV5 as official broadcaster on a sizzling note.

Rachel Anne Daquis and Jovelyn Gonzaga conspired in the firing end, finishing with 15 and 14 points respectively for RC Cola-Army, who shut the door on Cignal and its bid to advance to the final round where a Thai team in Est Cola will also be competing.

Idle F2 Logistics will take the last seat in the semifinals together with RC Cola-Army and Petron.

It was such a sweet win for the Lady Troopers who made a resounding bounce back after falling with a sorry five-set defeat to Petron last Thursday. 

“We still couldn’t figure out what happened to us in that game,” said RC Cola-Army assistant coach Rico de Guzman. “That’s why it feels good to have this win. At least we will be going to the final round with very high morale.”

Earlier, the Tri-Activ Spikers bucked a slow start before asserting their might in the second and third sets to pull off their fifth conquest in six games.

Veteran Aiza Piontillas tallied 19 kills en route to a 20-point effort while Bang Pineda and Maica Morada chipped in 13 and 11 points respectively for the Tri-Activ Spikers who struggled early on before getting their rhythm in the second and third sets.

“Parang diesel na naman,” said Petron coach George Pascua, referring to their rusty start. “I think the team was making some adjustments in the first set before heating up in the second and third sets. It was understandable because it was our first time to play them.”

But the biggest blow for Foton was the shoulder injury sustained by Angeli Tabaquero.

With the Toplander ahead, 13-12, midway in the third set, Tabaquero re-injured her right shoulder after receiving a booming smash from Cherry Nunag. The former Universiity of Santo Tomas opposite hitter who was converted to a libero starting this conference was carted out of the arena and immediately brought to a nearby hospital.

The Toplander were never the same again as Petron went on a rampage to erect a 24-17 advantage before Pontillas unleashed a punishing hit from the opposite to seal the set victory.

“Tabaquero is one of their leaders,” said Pascua, noting that it was Tabaquero’s old injury. “Malaking kawalan sa Foton yung injury nya psychologically. It completely changed the complexion of the game.”

“But I still told the team to challenge themselves and play their best even without Tabaquero. Mabuti na lang at maganda naging response nila.”

Patty Orendain tallied 12 points while Angeli Araneta and Maika Ortiz churned nine points apiece for the Toplander who closed their campaign at fifth place with a 1-5 mark.

Click for a photo set by Roman Prospero