After two disappointing losses to start the final round of the Philippine SuperLiga (PSL) Invitational 2016, the Petron Tri-Activ Spikers finally got their win in their last match, outlasting the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers in four sets, 25-22, 26-24, 16-25, 26-24, Saturday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Petron took control of the set from the start, preventing F2 from setting up good attacks. A Mina Aganon kill pushed the Tri-Activ Spikers lead to double digits, 15-5. The Cargo Movers attempted one last run, trimming the deficit to two, 24-22, after back-to-back Pau Soriano kills, but a crucial error ended the set for Petron.
Maica Morada opened the set with a kill, while Aiza Pontillas connected on consecutive block kills for a 3-0 Petron lead. Aby Marano then kickstarted her team’s offense, trimming F2’s deficit to a single point, 7-6. The Cargo movers kept their momentum going, tying the set after a Paneng Mercado block. Petron attempted to pull away once more, but a lilet Mabbayad drop and a Danika Gendrauli block tied the set once more at 12. Petron was able to pull away again, and a Pontillas kill put them ahead 16-14, heading into the second technical timeout. A string of Petron errors allowed F2 to take the lead 18-17, forcing their coach George Pascua to call a timeout.
The Tri-Activ Spikers fought back, and after a Ces Molina kill, retook the lead 20-19. both teams battled it out, trading points as well as the lead, before eventually tying the set at 23. Morada scored off the block to give Petron set point, but a Cha Cruz drop tied the set once more at 24. A Pontillas drop was followed by a Marano error, granted the Tri-Activ Spikers a 2-0 set lead.
F2 started strong in the third set, taking a 4-1 lead after a Janet Serafica ace and a Gendrauli kill. A 3-0 Petron run, capped by back-to-back aces by Morada, tied the set at 4. This didn’t deter the Cargo Movers, however as they bombarded Petron while locking down on their defense. F2 led, 24-16, and a quick attack by Soriano ended the set.
Both teams came out strong in the next set, with neither of them giving ground to their opponent. F2 was able to take a slim advantage after a Cruz off the block kill for a 15-11 lead. Petron fought back, outscoring the Cargo Movers 5-1 to tie the set at 16. Marano once again pulled through for her team, scoring two straight points before CJ Rosario countered with a kill of her own. Petron pressed their advantage, and after a Pontillas kill, took set point 24-22. F2 stayed alive, scoring consecutive points to tie the set at 2. Pontillas pulled through for her team, scoring a kill, and Morada ended the match with a beautiful ace.
Morada powered a game high 21 points, 17 off attacks, three service aces, and a block. Pontillas, Molina, and Rosario rounded out the Tri-Activ Spikers in double-digit scoring with 15, 14, and 11 points respectively.
The Cargo movers were led by Marano’s 19 points, while Mercado and Soriano chipped in 12 and 10 points each.
After the match, Pascua shared that the tournament was a good gauge on how prepared the team is for future tournaments. Having lost three of the team’s offensive players during the off-season, Pascua hopes this tournament was able to boost his team’s confidence.
“It was a good experience for us, na-gauge namin yung bawa’t isa. Yung attitude and character nalang, dun nagkakalabanan, kasi yung team is almost the same eh. Lahat ng laro ay unpredictable eh, depende nalang sa desire ng team kung gusto manalo o hindi.”
Petron (3) – Morada 21, Pontillas 15, Molina 14, Rosario 11, Aganon 5, Pineda 4, Masangkay 2, Legacion 1, Zapanta 0, Reyes L..
F2 (1) – Marano 19, Mercado 12, Soriano 10, Gendrauli 9, Cruz 4, Serafica 3, Mabbayad 3, Gustilo 0, Cortel L.