Aiming for a quarterfinals berth, the Sta. Lucia Lady Realtors bolstered their chances after sweeping the University of the East-Cherrylume Iron Lady Warriors, 25-21, 25-20, 25-23, in Group B of the 2018 Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga Invitational Cup at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The Lady Realtors struggled to get consistent offense throughout the match, but eked out each set with a late push. UE inched closer each time, almost stealing the third set. Trailing 21-24, the Iron Lady Warriors caught consecutive breaks, including an MJ Phillips attack error that brought UE to within one.
Calling their last timeout, Sta. Lucia clutched the last lucky draw as UE’s Mariella Gabrade sent her serve straight into the net.
“Sa errors pa rin kami nagkaka-struggle. Hindi pa kami makapaglaro nang isang match na medyo malinis,” said Sta. Lucia head coach George Pascua, adding that he is still looking for energy from his team. “‘Yung tinatawag nilang swag na meron kami sa practice, hindi pa namin ma-translate sa laro. Kailangan kung anong nilalaro namin sa ensayo, mailabas namin sa game para mas maganda ‘yung ipakita namin.”
Pascua also confirmed that Jhoana Maraguinot (knee sprain) and Toni Basas (ear infection) are both out for the rest of the Invitational Cup after initially being tagged to return within the coming weeks.
Phillips tallied a game-high 18 points off 14 attacks and four blocks, while open hitter Jonah Sabete contributed 10 markers.
Sta. Lucia finished the group stage with a 2-2 record.
Mary Anne Mendrez topped the Lady Warriors with 14 points while Judith Abil added 13.
In order to make the quarterfinals, the Lady Realtors need the Cocolife Asset Managers (1-2) to lose their final group match against the Cignal HD Spikers (3-0). UE-Cherrylume (0-3) will for their first win against the Smart Prepaid Giga Hitters (2-1) on Tuesday at the Imus Sports Center.
Sta. Lucia (3) – Phillips 18, Sabete 10, Laborte 6, Rivera 6, Villareal 5, Lastimosa 4, Hernandez 3, De Leon 2, Baliton 1, Raslan 1, Demontaño (L), Estoquia (L)
UE-Cherrylume (0) – Mendrez 14, Abil 13, Clavano 4, Olarve 3, Gabrada 2, Santos 2, Sta. Maria 2, Catindig 1, Alcyade 0, Lopez 0, Ramos 0, Babol (L), Pastorfide (L)