The BanKo Perlas Spikers regained form just in time to avoid a collapse and slip past the Ateneo-Motolite Lady Eagles, 25-23, 25-19, 21-25, 19-25, 15-6, in Game One of their best-of-three Premier Volleyball League Open Conference semis series at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
BanKo continued mastery of the Lady Eagles to open the match. They staved off a late Ateneo rally in the first set before completely dominating the second set. The Perlas Spikers fell behind 22-17 in the third set, before mounting a comeback that got them closer, 22-20. But BanKo’s own errors allowed the Lady Eagles to extend the match.
Following a letdown in the fourth set, a rejuvenated BanKo surged in the fifth set behind veterans Nicole Tiamzon, Kathy Bersola, and Dzi Gervacio. The trio connived to lift the Perlas Spikers to an insurmountable 13-5 lead that ended the two-hour contest.
“Na-execute namin ‘yung game plan noong first two sets, tapos nawala kami sa third and fourth. Hindi mo din kasi pwedeng bigyan talaga ng kumpiyansa ‘yung Ateneo eh,” said BanKo head coach Dong Dela Cruz.
“Mabuti noong fifth set nakabalik kami sa gusto naming gawin. Malaking bagay for us moving forward na nakabangon kami sa ganoon,” he added.
Tiamzon finished with a game-high 25 points, while Gervacio added 20. Bersola provided 16 markers off nine attacks and seven blocks. BanKo remain undefeated against the Lady Eagles.
Kat Tolentino topped the Lady Eagles with 20 markers, while Ponggay Gaston added 14.
The Perlas Spikers can enter the Finals for the first time in franchise history with a win in Game Two on Saturday at the same venue.
BanKo (3) – Tiamzon 25, Gervacio 20, Bersola 16, Roces 12, Ahomiro 4, Dacoron 4, Doromal 2, Ferrer 1, Villanueva 1, Emnas 0, De Jesus (L), Tan (L)
Ateneo-Motolite (2) – Tolentino 20, Gaston 14, Madayag 12, Gandler 11, De Leon 6, Samonte 6, Wong 3, Fanger 0, Gequillana (L), Ravena (L)
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