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2018-psl-gp—petron-def-cocolife—ces-molina
2018-psl-gp—petron-def-cocolife—ces-molina

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Ces Molina steps up as Petron denies Cocolife for first round sweep


Last season’s runners-up Petron Blaze Spikers staked their claim for the top spot in the first round of the 2018 Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga Grand Prix, after taking care of the Cocolife Asset Managers, 26-24, 25-18, 21-25, 25-20, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Blaze Spikers completed the first round sweep without one of their American imports, Hilary Hurley, who sat out to rest a right foot injury.

In her place, Petron veteran Ces Molina reverted to her natural open hitter position and poured-in import-like numbers, scoring 21 points off 19 attacks and two blocks to go with 16 digs.

The Blaze Spikers had to rally back in the first set after allowing Cocolife to erase their 15-11 cushion. Both squads battled to a deuce, which swung in Petron’s favor thanks to a clutch Mika Reyes block.

Petron then slowly built a 19-13 wall in the second set that stifled the Asset Managers. Serbian import Sara Klisura almost brought Cocolife back into the fray, slicing the Petron defense with three attacks that cut the deficit down to three, 18-21. From there, Molina and 2015 Grand Prix MVP Lindsay Stalzer conspired to finish off the Asset Managers via a 4-0 run.

The Blaze were within range of a sweep, leading Cocolife, 16-13, in the third set. But a slew of errors cost Petron the lead, allowing Klisura and her American tag partner Taylor Milton to sneak up towards the end and extend the match.

The fourth set saw the Blaze Spikers quickly put the match’s result out of reach, grabbing a 16-8 lead thanks to solid play at the net. Klisura gave the Asset Managers one last gasp, sparking a run that trimmed Petron’s lead down to four, 20-24. But the Blaze Spikers recovered quickly following a timeout, going to Stalzer, who needed just two swings to cap the match.

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“Sobrang proud kami sa players namin, imports and locals, kasi alam namin na magdedeliver. Talagang pinaghahandaan din kasi namin, so, para sa amin, expect namin na magtatrabaho pa kaya dapat ma-sustain namin ang dapat namin igalaw,” said Petron head coach Shaq Delos Santos.

Stalzer finished with 22 markers, while opposite hitter Aiza Maizo-Pontillas added 13 points.

The Blaze Spikers move to the next group phase with a 7-0 record.

Klisura, who holds the league record for most points in a match, almost established a new feat, scoring 38 points in the loss.

The Asset Managers finish the first round with a 4-3 card, good for third place, just behind defending champions F2 Logistics Cargo Movers (4-1).

The Scores

Petron (3) – Stalzer 22, Molina 21, Pontillas 13, Reyes 9, Palma 8, Dimaculangan 2, Legacion 0, Tunay 0, Fukuda (L)

Cocolife (1) – Klisura 38, Milton 16, Pabayo 4, Tan 3, Tubino 3, Bunag 1, Gonzales 1, Salak 1, Alkuino 0, Tejada 0, Lazaro (L)

Written By

Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.


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