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Meralco salvages fifth place finish in PSL GP

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After losing their first nine matches of the season, the Meralco Power Spikers punctuated their Philippine Superliga Grand Prix run with two consecutive wins over the RC Cola-Air Force Raiders, taking their classification match in four sets 25-21, 20-25, 25-23, 25-20 at the Imus Sports Complex in Cavite City.

The Power Spikers saw balanced effort from their lineup. with import Christina Alessi leading the way, scoring a team-high 13 points. La Salle’s Mika Reyes pitched in 11 points off eight attacks and three blocks, while Estonian import Liis Kullerkann added 10 markers. Team captain Cha Cruz put in six points, eight digs and eight excellent receptions.

“For us, magandang experience ito (PSL) lalo na at palapit na yoong UAAP. Ang rami naming natutunan just from with our seniors (former La Sallians) and sa mga nakakalaban naming imports,” said Meralco setter Kim Fajardo who tossed 26 excellent sets. According to Fajardo, there is a definite difference between the PSL and the UAAP, a league they have dominated for the past two decades. “Mahirap talaga noong first matches namin kasi nakakapanibago makipaglaro with imports and veterans. Iba talaga ‘yung level nila. Hopefully this experience can help us moving forward,” she added.

Meralco employed legendary head coach Ramil De Jesus and his staff to run the team. Meralco’s fifth place standing marks De Jesus’ worst finish in the league after making the Finals in the past three conferences.

RC continued their struggle with floor defense and ball control, severely hampering their chances to trim the Meralco leads established early in each of the last three sets. RC imports, Puerto Rico National Team standout Lynda Morales and American Sara McClinton, each pitched in 16 points. Former UST Tigress Maika Ortiz added 11 markers.

RC have just come off a loss to the Power Spikers last week at the PSL’s out-of-town game in Lipa, Batangas. RC again failed to make the semis after a similar poor performance in last season’s Grand Prix.

Meralco finish just behind third-placed Philips Gold and fourth-placed Cignal HD Spikers.

The PSL Season concludes with a best-of-three Finals between defending champs Petron Blaze Spikers and the Foton Tornadoes, with Game One happening on Thursday, November 26 at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City

The Scores

Meralco (3) – Alessi 13, Reyes 11, Alessi 10, Baron 9, Cruz 6, Fajardo 6, Mercado 5, Demecillo 4, Cerveza 1, Sison (L), Macandili (L)

RC Cola (1) – McClinton 16, Morales 16, Ortiz 11, Caballejo 7, Dimaculangan 5, Pantino 3, Semana 1, Yongco 1, Cases 0, Balmaceda (L), Abanto (L)

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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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