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Petron revs up late, evades Shopinas hijacking



In a rematch of last season’s Grand Prix Final, the Petron Blaze Spikers avoided a near upset loss and downed the Lady Clickers in five sets, 21-25, 20-25, 25-21, 25-16, 15-9 at the Cuneta Astrodome.

Petron coach, George Pascua jokingly compared his team to a Diesel engine, since it took his team two set losses to finally heat up. “Galing kasi ‘yung karamihan sa amin sa bakasyon. May commitments din sa ibang league ‘yung ibang players, kaya medyo nagwarm up pa nung una. Diesel kasi ‘yung nakarga namin,” Pascua remarked.

Shopinas team captain Cha Cruz and rookie Rizza Mandapat dominated the early goings of the match, scoring a combined 11 points in the opening set. Petron seemed dazed in the opening set as their veterans gave up uncharacteristic errors and their middle hitters were checked perfectly by Shopinas’ hardworking defense. The Lady Clickers built a four-point hump that Petron could not get over.

Petron slotted in backup setter, Mary Grace Masangkay to try to spark their offense but to no avail as Shopinas spikers kept bombarding their net defense and their reception was still shaky. However, the Lady Clickers hit a snag midway through the set and allowed Petron to waltz back in as the Blaze Spikers trimmed a three-point deficit and led shortly, 19-18. Cha Cruz countered the opposing assault by scoring four points in a stretch that had Shopinas overtake Petron and take the set.

Petron made crucial adjustments in their lineup in the third set, opting to start the set with Fille Cayetano and Mina Aganon. The substitutions opened up the court and allowed Petron to dominate offensively from there. The previously dormant Dindin Santiago came alive in the the frame, scoring 16 of her 23 points in the following three sets. Petron dominated the next two sets and forced a deciding fifth set.

The Lady Clickers looked exhausted in the final set of the match leading to multiple errors that gave Petron an easy opportunity to take a sizable 8-4 lead. Dindin Santiago scored three consecutive points in a 7-5 run that notched the match for Petron.

After winning their first two matches in impressive fashion, Shopinas’ loss evens their slate at 2-2 while Petron remains undefeated in three matches.

The Scores:

Petron (3) – Manabat 23, Maraño 14, Daquis 10, Aganon 9, Cayetano 6, Molina 5, Morade 2, Masangkay 1, Zapanta 0, Perez 0, Reyes (L)

Shopinas (2) – Cruz 17, Mercado 12, Mandapat 12, Laborte 9, Angustia 5, Dy 5, Cheng 2, Tan 1, Guevara 1, General (L)


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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