Imports Katherine Bell and Stephanie Niemer made a rousing debut as Petron made short work of PLDT Home Fibr, 25-19, 25-9, 25-10, in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix Feb 19 at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Billed as two of the best imports the country ever saw, Bell and Niemer were unstoppable from start to finish as they towed Petron to an easy win in this prestigious women’s club tourney that has ESPN5 and 5Plus as broadcast partners.
Bell led the charge with 15 points and 10 digs while Niemer scattered nine spikes, three aces and a pair of blocks for 14 hits in their win that lasted for one hour and 26 minutes.
Mika Reyes was also instrumental with seven points while Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and Remy Palma added six markers apiece for Petron, which is looking to defend its crown in this tourney that has Asics, Mikasa, Mueller, Senoh, Team Rebel Sports, Bizooku, UCPB Gen, Hotel Sogo and Data Project as sponsors.
Newly acquired libero Denden Lazaro also had 10 digs in her Petron debut.
“We struggled in the first set maybe because it’s just our first game. The players, especially the imports, were too excited,” said Petron head coach Shaq Delos Santos. “I told them to relax, take a deep breath and focus. Good thing we were able to recover.”
Petron had a slow start as it was down 5-11 early in the first set before trimming it to one 18-19 until the Blaze Spikers unleashed seven straight points to take the first set.
The defending champions were unstoppable in the succeeding sets with Bell and Niemer heating up mounting big leads 19-7 in the second set and 17-5 in the third frame never looking back to win their first game.
Import Grace Lazard was the lone bright spot for PLDT with 14 points while her fellow reinforcement Kendra Dahlke only had four markers as her team gave up 24 errors in her debut.
In the second game Kalei Mau caught fire down the stretch delivering the crucial blows that towed United VC to a 12-25, 15-25, 25-17, 25-22, 15-9 win over Sta. Lucia.
Holding a precarious 9-8 lead in the fifth set, Mau carried United VC as she dropped seven of the last eight points to get their first win following a four-set loss to Foton last Saturday.
The Filipino-American outside spiker finished with 22 points off 19 spikes, two blocks and an ace, including 15 digs and eight excellent receptions, while import Yaasmeen Bedart-Ghani also had 22 hits as United VC improved to 1-1 win-loss card.
Casey Schoenlein and Molly Lohman led the Lady Realtors with 19 and 17 points, respectively, while Pamela Lastimosa chipped in 14 hits and Amanda Villanueva added 11 markers and had 12 digs.
Feb 21 @FilOilSanJuan
2pm PLDT Fibr v Cignal HD
415 @F2CargoMovers v Sta Lucia
7 Petron vs Generika-Ayala
Feb 23 Strike Gym Bacoor
2pm Cignal HD v Sta Lucia
4 PLDT Fibr vs Generika-Ayala
6 Foton vs Petron