Last year’s runners-up Petron Tri-Activ Spikers lost their first set of the season but recovered to conquer the RC Cola-Army Troopers, 25-23, 23-25, 25-18, 25-19 in the 2016 PSL Grand Prix at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The first two sets were close throughout, with Petron succumbing late in the second frame. RC Cola had built a five-point lead before Petron’s American import Stephanie Niemer almost single-handedly pulled them back into the match.
Niemer was integral in Petron’s rejuvenated play in the next two sets.
“Sabi nga ni Niemer sa team, nakikita niya ‘yung gigil sa laro at ‘yung pagka-tense nila. Sinabi niya na wag lang maglagay ng extra pressure tapos sundin lang ‘yung gameplan. Thankfully, nabuhay ‘yung team,” recalled Petron head coach Shaq Delos Santos.
Petron easily secured the next two sets, pounding Army’s reception to build big leads.
“Kapag consistent kami sa serving, maganda talaga ang nilalaro namin kaya ganoon lang kami dapat,” Delos Santos added.
Niemer finished with 24 points on 20 attacks, one block, and three aces. Petron’s American middle blocker Serena Warner added 14 markers. The Tri-Activ Spikers powered in 10 aces that contributed to their whooping 57 attacks.
Jovelyn Gonzaga scored 16 points for Army, while Rachel Daquis added 10 markers.
Petron (3-0) shoot for their fourth win against Cignal (0-1), while Army (1-1) try to bounce back against Foton (2-0) on Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Petron (3) – Niemer 24, Warner 14, Molina 13, Pontillas 11, Hingpit 5, Rosario 5, Aganon 1, Nunag 0, Zapanta 0, Pineda (L), Reyes (L)
RC Cola (1) – Gonzaga 16, Daquis 10, Holst 9, Salak 7, Ripley 6, Tubino 4, Malaluan 3, Bautista 2, Gonzales 0, Sabas 0, Siatan-Torres (L), Agno (L)