Heavyweight Petron unleashed its torrid attacks before watching Cocolife crumble to pressure in the crucial stretch to score a 25-19, 25-21, 25-22 victory in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix Nov 30 at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Lindsay Stalzer delivered the goods, lifting the Blaze Spikers to another easy victory in this prestigious club tourney bankrolled by Mikasa, Grand Sport, Senoh, Mueller, Island Rose, Cloudfone and UCPB Gen.
The win gave Petron a share of lead with idle Foton at 7-1.
But their chances of clinching the top spot in the sudden-death quarterfinals appear nil as F2 Logistics will gain superior quotient provided that the Cargo Movers clobber struggling Iriga City in the final day of eliminations on Saturday.
Petron coach Shaq Delos Santos said they are ready to assume the second spot and face the seventh seed in the next round that starts on Tuesday.
“Based on our calculation, if F2 Logistics will win over Iriga City on Saturday, we will take the second spot in the quarterfinals,” said Delos Santos, who steered the Blaze Spikers to the All-Filipino title earlier this year.
“That’s the importance of our victory today. We will go to the quarterfinals with high morale and ready for battle.”
Stalzer, Most Valuable Player of this battle that also has Gerflor and Gold’s Gym as technical sponsors and ESPN5 as broadcast partner two years ago, fired 11 kills, three blocks and two aces for 16 points while carrying the cudgels in the deciding set to keep Petron within striking distance, 18-20.
Hillary Hurley scored on a block and a kill to knot the count before Frances Molina unleashed a powerful hit from the open spot to grab the lead, 21-20.
Cocolife reinforcement Tai Manu-Olevao tied things up at 21 but she committed an attack error followed by another error by Wensh Tiu and another error by Lutgarda Malaluan that gave the Blaze Spikers the match point, 24-21.
Then, Molina converted on a well-executed combination play to seal the victory.
“I told the team that they should not underestimate the opponent,” said Delos Santos, whose wards were given 25 extra points off the errors of the Asset Managers.
“So far, we’re not thinking of anything yet – not even the semis. Our eyes are set on finishing strong and winning the quarterfinals because at this point, one miss and you’re out. We don’t want to fall into that.”
Manu-Olevao tallied 15 attacks and an ace for 16 points for the Asset Managers, who finished the eliminations with a 3-5 win-loss card.
Meanwhile, Sta. Lucia Realty bucked a slow start before hammering a 25-27, 25-18, 25-17, 26-24 victory over Generika-Ayala in the second game.
Ukrainian import Bodhana Anisova carried the cudgels for the Lady Realtors, who clinched the victory after one hour and 49 minutes of action.
The Lady Realtors are now fashioning a 3-5 win-loss card together with Cocolife and Generika-Ayala.
They still have to wait for the outcome of the match between Cignal and Victoria Sports-UST to determine their ranking in the sudden-death quarterfinals.
But Sta. Lucia coach Jerry Yee is ready for war.
“I hope this is the momentum we’re looking for,” said Yee, whose wards are coming off a massive four-set conquest of the Asset Managers last Tuesday.
Anisova delivered 23 kills to finish with 25 points while Marisa Field and MJ Philips chipped in 16 and 13 markers, respectively. Darlene Ramdin nailed 20 points while Katarina Pilepic tallied 19 markers for the Lifesavers, who had an impressive performance in the opening set before suffering a complete collapse.
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