Thanks to solid contributions from returning player Grethcel Soltones and Czarina Carandang, the Smart Giga Hitters wiggled past the Cocolife Asset Managers, 25-16, 18-25, 25-20, 23-25, 15-11, in the 2018 Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Smart battled through an up-and-down match as Cocolife clung to each point in the fourth set and forced a decider. The Giga Hitters gained ground early in the fifth set, grabbing a 10-6 advantage thanks to a pair of hits from Soltones.
Cocolife tried to rally back, cutting the deficit down to two, 8-6. But the Asset Managers lost steam in the end, allowing Smart to break their two-game losing streak.
“Noong last game, ewan ko ba, parang walang gana maglaro ‘yung mga bata,” said Smart head coach Roger Gorayeb. “Sinabi ko sa kanila na kailangan natin enjoyin ‘yung laro at mag-focus sa mga ginagawa namin. Hopefully, makatulong itong panalong ‘to para makabalik kami sa laro namin.”
Soltones, who missed Tuesday’s match due to a fever, finished with an all-around line of 17 points, 16 digs, and 25 excellent reception in 50 attempts. Middle blocker Czarina Carandang added 13 points
Smart (2-2) takes on Generika-Ayala (1-3) on Saturday at the Caloocan Sports Complex.
Fil-Am winger Kalei Mau topped the Asset Managers with 25 points, 15 digs, and 27 exellent receptions in 44 attempts.
Cocolife (0-4) tries for their first win against fellow winless squad Sta. Lucia (0-4) also on Saturday.
Smart (3) – Soltones 17, Carandang 13, Malabanan 10, Sta. Rita 10, Urdas 9, Nabor 7, Latigay 4, Singh 1, Villegas 1, Cayuna 0, Pantone (L)
Cocolife (2) – Mau 25, Palec 12, Tiu 10, Berte 8, Angistia 6, Tan 3, Barroga 1, Yongco 1, Banggad 0, Gendrauli 0, Tongco 0, Lazaro (L)