CAVITE CITY – Armed with their undefeated record and early advantage in the year’s PSL-AFC Finals on the line, the Petron Blaze Lady Spikers thoroughly dismantled the Shopinas Lady Clickers in straight sets 25-18, 25-14, 25-18 at the Imus Sports Center.
The Blaze Spikers dominated the match right from the first point as they built hefty leads early in each set. Petron outperformed Shopinas in all offensive skills, garnering more attacks (39-25), block kills (5-3), and aces (8-4) while divvying up less unforced errors (19-23). Shopinas’ service reception was uncharacteristically horrendous, leading to their errors and to free balls which the mighty Petron attackers easily converted.
Playing in her home city, Petron’s Dindin Santiago-Manabat topped all scorers with 16 points while her team captain, Maica Morada paced the Blaze Spikers with nine points. FEU’s Rachel Anne Daquis pitched in nine points while La Salle’s Abigail Maraño had seven markers for the still unblemished Blaze Spikers.
Last season, these teams met in the PSL Grand Prix Finals, with Petron squirming their way past the then-Generika Lifesavers in four tight sets. Game One of this year’s Finals was a stark contrast as Shopinas really didn’t give the Blaze Boosters any problems. In the first set, Petron rode a 6-0 run sparked by Manabat to take a decisive 17-10 lead.
In the second set, Shopinas played a step or ten too slow and Petron easily lept out to a 21-3 lead. The Lady Clickers were only able to trim the lead when Petron slotted in their bench players. Still, Petron’s Alexa Micek, Ivy Perez, Fille Cayetano, Mina Aganon, and Mayette Zapante were able to get the job done and continued to demolish the Lady Clickers. In the final set of the match, Petron broke out to a 13-5 lead their spikers took turns at smashing through the Shopinas defense. Aby Maraño ended the match with her signature single-lady block to stop a threatening Shopinas rally.
“’Nung one week off, nag-practice lang kami ng mga magandang counter attack namin sa Shopinas. Siyempre Finals na ‘to so nakakagulat talaga na madali ‘yung nagging pagkapanalo namin. ‘Di ko talaga ineexpect. Pero sa tingin ko naman mas maayos na ‘yung lalaruin ng Shopinas pagdating ng Game Two. ‘Di kami pwede magkampante,” said Petron Head Coach George Pascua.
PSL Ambassador, Cha Cruz led the Lady Clickers with 13 points but none of her teammates produced at the same level as her to keep up with Petron’s rapid pace. Her former La Salle teammate and fellow open hitter, Paneng Mercado was second in the Shopinas scoring order with only six points.
Game Two will be on Thursday at the Cunete Astrodome in Pasay City.
Petron (3) – Manabat 16, Morada 9 , Daquis 8, Maraño 7, Molina 5, Masangkay 4, Micek 1, Cabalsa 1, Cayetanbo 1, Aganon 0, Perez 0, Zapanta 0, Reyes (L)
Shopinas.com (0) – Cruz 13, Mercado 6, Mandapat 4, Laborte 3, Tiu 2, Guevara 2, Dy 1, Cheng 1, Higpit 0, Egui 0, General (L)