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Nicole Tiamzon proves clutch as Banko Perlas outlasts Army in third place Game 1

With a burning desire to move closer to a bronze finish, the BanKo Perlas Spikers crept their way back from two sets down.

In the final set, Nicole Tiamzon and Banko stunned the PacificTown-Army Lady Troopers in come-from-behind fashion, 25-27, 10-25, 27-25, 26-24, 16-14, in Game One of the 2019 PVL Reinforced Conference best-of-three battle for third series, Wednesday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

“Tuloy tuloy kasi sa amin yung momentum e. Kung mapapansin niyo, come from behind lahat ng panalo so talagang patibayan ng loob,” Tiamzon said.

Figuring in a nip-and-tuck fourth set, the PacificTown-Army leaned on the steady play of its veteran-laden core to keep the Perlas Spikers at bay. However, the Perlas Spikers clawed their way back and tied things up at 19-all. Olena Lymareva-Flink unshackled her team with a hit that incited a 5-2 spurt and placed Army at match point, 24-21.

Sutadta Chuewulim, however, provided BanKo another lease on life after an off-the-block smash. Jolted to their senses, the Perlas Spikers relied on Dzi Gervacio to force a two-to-win situation and eventually take the lead at 25-24. Sue Roces then coaxed a free ball that forged a decider.

“Noong fifth set, sabi namin na ibigay na ang lahat, wala rin naman mawawala sa amin. We really wanted to win Game One of the battle for third,” Tiamzon recalled.

Momentum swung wildly in the final stanza. Tied at 8-all, Royse Tubino and Lymareva-Flink gave the Lady Troopers crucial separation at 11-9. The slim lead, however, was short-lived as BanKo tied another knot at 14-all.

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With the game hung in the balance, Tiamzon delivered in the clutch yet again, pummeling the tiebreaker before Tubino committed a costly attack error that sealed the comeback.

The Perlas Spikers strung a balanced attack as all but the setter and liberos fielded tallied a point.

Tiamzon led the charge with 18 points, two of which coming from aces, on top of 13 excellent digs. Chuewulim notched a triple-double with 15 points, 31 excellent digs, and 18 excellent receptions, while Gervacio added 13 markers.

Kathy Bersola provided six of her team’s 11 blocks en route to an eleven-point output. Roces also tallied 11 points of her own.

Lymareva-Flink and Tubino exploded for 26 and 24 points, respectively, in a losing cause. Jenelle Jordan had 18 markers, two of which coming from blocks, while Ging Balse-Pabayo netted five aces for 12 points.

Despite only scoring six points, Jovelyn Gonzaga contributed on defense, supplying 23 excellent digs and 17 excellent receptions.

Game Two will be on Saturday, July 13 at the same venue.

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