Coming off an uncharacteristic loss against the Petro Gazz Angels last weekend, the BanKo Perlas Spikers formally entered the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference semifinals with a 27-25, 19-25, 25-16, 25-20, win over the Pocari Sweat-Air Force Lady Warriors at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The Perlas Spikers needed to rally back from a nine point deficit in the first set and gain momentum. BanKo head coach Dong Dela Cruz affirmed that their slow start stemmed from their poor play last Sunday.
“Parang nag-carry over lang ‘yung nilaro namin last time. Alam naman ng players ko na hindi sila talaga ganoon maglaro. Kinailangan lang magpainit,” said Dela Cruz.
BanKo dominated the match after giving up a decisive second set. The Perlas Spikers opened an 18-10 lead in the third set, before pulling away in the fourth frame, 22-17.
“Sobrang gusto talaga ng mga bata na manalo para nga sure na kami sa semifinals. ‘Yun talaga ang goal namin today. Ngayon, titignan natin kung hanggang saan pa tayo makakapwesto sa rankings,” added Dela Cruz.
BanKo (9-3) faces fellow semifinalists Creamline (8-2) on Sunday in Cagayan De Oro in a match with heavy seeding implications.
Amanda Villanueva stepped in for the injured Nicole Tiamzon and had her best game of the tournament, scoring 22 points with 15 excellent receptions. Fellow Adamson University alum Joy Dacoron added 13. Tiamzon remains day-to-day with a bruised right middle finger.
Myla Pablo topped the Lady Warriors with 23 points. Jeanette Panaga manaed 11 markers.
The Lady Warriors sank to a 5-7 card, needing to win their last two matches and needing Petro Gazz (6-5) to lose their remaining outings to have a shot at the semis.
BanKo (3) – Villanueva 23, Dacoron 13, Gervacio 12, Bersola 9, Roces 9, Ahomiro 6, Ferrer 1, Emnas 0, De Jesus (L), Tan (L)
Pocari Sweat (1) – Pablo 23, Panaga 11, Palomata 10, Pantino 6, Kasilag 4, Yongco 4, Cabalsa 3, Pantino 2, Cases 1, Andaya 0, Balmaceda (L), Tempiatura (L)