Sta. Lucia Realty stormed back from a sluggish start and unleashed a strong finishing kick to escape with a thrilling 23-25, 22-25, 25-12, 25-23, 15-7 victory over Cocolife in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix last night at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
With imports Bohdana Anisova and Marisa Field re-discovering their rhythm, the Lady Realtors were unstoppable in the crucial stretch to capture the win in this prestigious club league bankrolled by Mikasa, Grand Sport, Senoh, Mueller, Island Rose, Cloudfone and UCPB Gen.
With the win, the Lady Realtors snapped their two-game losing streak with a 2-5 win-loss card putting them in a perfect position to avoid the top seed in the sudden-death quarterfinal showdown.
Sta. Lucia coach Jerry Yee said while their goal is to win as many games as possible, it would be great if they would avoid the top seed which could be F2 Logistics, Petron or reigning champion Foton.
“We want to fight until the end,” said Yee, whose wards will be facing Generika-Ayala to cap their campaign in the eliminations. “As much as possible, we want to avoid the top seed in the quarterfinals.”
Anisova erupted for 29 kills, four aces and two blocks to finish with game-high 35 points while Field chipped in 20 markers for the Lady Realtors, who fought back from two sets down to capture the victory.
A prized recruit from Ukraine, Anisova was impressive in the crucial stretch of the deciding set where the Lady Realtors turned a 7-5 lead into a 13-6 advantage.
Tai Manu-Olevao tried to pump life into the Asset Managers with a powerful kill from the backrow, but Anisova connected on a beautiful placed shot before Field and Pam Lastimosa thwarted the attack of Nene Bautista to seal the victory.
Manu-Olevao had 30 kills while fellow import Taylor Milton and Nene Bautista delivered 13 and 11 markers, respectively, for the Asset Managers, who joined Cignal and Generika-Ayala at the fourth spot with a 3-4 card.
Meanwhile, Foton capped its elimination round campaign with a strong finish as it crushed Victoria Sports-UST, 25-8, 25-22, 25-16, in the second match.
Prolific import Sara Klisura and Jaja Santiago joined forces in towing the Tornadoes to an easy victory that lasted for only 56 minutes.
Klisura and Santiago delivered 13 points apiece while EJ Laure and CJ Rosario combined for 17 markers for Foton. They shut down their elimination round campaign on a high note with a 7-1 mark.
The Tornadoes still have to wait for the outcome of the battle between Petron and Cocolife on Thursday as well as F2 Logistics and Iriga City on Saturday to determine their ranking in the quarterfinals.
Dimdim Pacres finished with eight markers for the Tigresses, who absorbed their seventh straight setback.
415pm Petron vs Cocolife
7pm Generika-Ayala vs Sta Lucia
4pm Cignal vs Victoria Sports UST
6pm Iriga vs F2 Logistics
All games are live from 4pm on ESPN5 (TV5). Livestream on Sports5’s YouTube channel. Overseas (except US/CA) can watch via mavshack.com or YouTube highlights on the Kapatid International YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zx0Zv9C1aeE&list=PLeG-vQUcskAiTnwfUVKnE0yRzu2uissJf