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Petron falls to Thongtin Lienvietpost Bank, settles for 8th

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In their closest match in days, the Petron Blaze Spikers ran out of gas towards the end of a grueling match with Vietnamese volleyball club, Thongtin Lienvietpost Bank, stumbling in four sets, 24-26, 25-26, 26-24, 20-25, and relegating them to an eighth place finish in the AVC Women’s Club Championships in the Ha Nam Gym in Phu Ly, Vietnam.

Petron barely controlled the opening portion of the first set, protecting a two-point lead through the efforts of Rachel Daquis and Erica Adachi. Later, the Pinays relinquished momentum, allowing Vietnam to take and protect a slim lead in the later stages through their serving. Daquis scored to tie the set at 24, but Petron’s miscues made room for Vietnam to quickly end the deuce and to take the set.

The Pinays curtailed their frustration from the previous set into a huge, 7-1, lead in the second frame. The hosts, however, responded aptly, slowly nibbling away at the deficit until their offense overwhelmed Petron into a 22-all tie. Mayette Zapanta subbed in for the PSL champs and provided a steady defensive presence, but her team, again, could not match the Vietnamese’s late game assault, surrendering an attack error to end the set in a 0-2 hole.

The Pinays averted disaster in the next set, getting their act together just in time to blow past a five-point Vietnam lead. The hosts, however, still drew match point with a comfortable, 24-21 lead. PSL AFC MVP, Daquis, and former PSL MVP, Dindin Santiago-Manabat, carried their team all the way back with Daquis converting on back-to-back kills to extend the set into a deuce, then Santiago-Manbat taking the reins and scoring on consecutive attacks herself to force a fourth set.

The fourth frame was unkind to the Blaze Spikers, who were unable to muster another comeback to further extend the match. Petron’s woes buried them in a deep nine point deficit hole, 5-14. A late 7-1 Petron run gave the hosts a scare, but they still escaped the match with a good margin.

Daquis finished the match with a tournament-high 16 points, while La Salle standout, Aby Maraño, followed with 12 markers. Santiago-Manabat, Petron’s most consistent scorer in the tournament, finished with 11 points.

Petron, despite their finish, set out to gather as much experience against top-level competition, as they return home to defend their PSL Grand Prix title against a tough field of revamped competitors, starting this October 10.

This was Vietnam’s first win of the tournament, which salvaged them to a seventh place finish out of nine participants.

Thai Club, Bangkok Glass, dethroned Hisamitsu Springs of Japan in the tournament final to book a ticket in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championships.

The Scores
Thongtin (3) – Bui 22, Pham 14, Tran T. 11, Tran Tu. 11, Tran To. 7, Vuong 5, Nguyen 2, Dang (L)
Petron (1) – Daquis 16, Molina 13, Maraño 12, Manabat 11, Adachi 8, Morada 4, Rupia 3, Cayetano 3, Zapanta 0, Reyes (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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