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Petron Blaze Spikers remain undefeated, blast Cignal HD Spikers



A shaky start did not hinder the Petron Blaze Spikers, who lived up to their monicker by smashing the Cignal HD Spikers, 23-25, 25-16, 25-13, 25-11 to capture their fourth win in as many games of the first round of eliminations of the Philippine Super Liga earlier tonight at the Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan City, Laguna.

The superstar triumvirate of Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Abigail Maraño, and Rachel Anne Daquis piled up 45 points in the decimation of Cignal, who actually began the game brightly. Carmela Tunay led the HD Spikers with 11 markers and was supported by Jeannete Panaga who added 10 markers in the losing effort.

The opening set was tightly-contested as each team wanted to start the match on a bright note. The Blaze Spikers went ahead 8-3 in the game’s first technical timeout courtesy of Maraño’s rewarded aggressiveness. Several errors cost Petron for it allowed Cignal to get back in the game. Given the opportunity, Tunay, Kai Nepomuceno, and Jannine Navarro pushed their squad in front, 16-13 in the succeeding technical timeout. It prompted an exchange of points between the two teams that saw the lead swing quickly. In the end, Tunay masterfully found ways to score three straight points to give Cignal a one-set lead.

Upset with dropping the first set, Petron ran riot in the second frame. Santiago-Manabat fired two early points alongside careless errors made by the HD Spikers. Soon, Maraño, Daquis, and Maica Morada, and Frances Molina got on board as well with their nifty contributions that caused problems for Cignal, who relied much on Tomasina aces Cherry May Vivas and Tunay to give them hope of keeping in touch with Petron. Even with Petron unable to convert all their attacks, they established a lead huge enough to take the third set with ease, 25-16.

If the second set was easy for Petron, what followed looked like a walk in the park. Four of Cignal’s 13 points came from errors and the dominance was even reflected in the intervals. Petron held 8-4, and 16-9 leads in technical timeouts on the back of scattered scoring from the usual suspects. They ended the set by scoring seven of the last 10 points of the set courtesy of the titanic trio of Santiago-Manabat, Maraño, and Daquis. Alexa Micek punctuated the set with a clinical service ace.

Things just got better for Petron in what turned out to be the last set of the match. Petron’s Santiago-Manabat displayed her aptitude of serving the ball as she delivered six aces in the first ten sequences of the match to put her team ahead, 9-1. The scoring spree continued when Molina scored back-to-back points after a short Cignal run to put them up, 11-4. Further showing how Cignal was deflated with the margin, a seemingly harmless free ball from Jen Reyes found its way to the canvas, giving the Libero her only point in the match—a rare occasion as Liberos have restricted capabilities on offense. Michelle Segodine, Vivas, and Tunay tried to save their team from losing a set with just single-digit points, in which they succeeded but only just as they managed 11 against a rampant Petron team. Eventually the victory was delivered by a Fille Saint Cainglet-Cayetano’s spike that sneaked its way past the Cignal defense, perhaps reflecting the tone of the match.

Petron mentor George Pascua credited the girls for their determination to fight back after things have not gone their way at the start. “Kahit papaano natututo sila sa nangyayaring natatalo sila ng sets kasi mahirap sa bandang huli doon na lumabas yung laro nilang ganoon (slow),” he said. With the win, Petron keeps hold of the top spot with a clean 4-0 record. They also sent Cignal in a three-way tie for fourth with Philips Gold and Mane ‘n Tail, all of whom have identical league-worst 1-3 win-loss records.

The Scores:

Cignal (1) – Tunay 11, Panaga 10, Vivas 5, Nepomuceno 4, Navarro 3, Mangui 3, Segodine 2, Clemente 2, Ancheta 1, Bravo 1, Dionela (L) 1,

Petron (3) – Manabat 20, Maraño 15, Daquis 10, Morada 7, Molina 5, Aganon 3, Masangkay 2, Cayetano 2, Micek 1, Reyes (L)

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