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Petron waylays Meralco, nails first win

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After suffering a heartbreaking setback last Saturday, the Petron Blaze Spikers regrouped with a convincing 25-14, 25-15, 25-19 sweep of the Meralco Power Spikers in the 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix at the San Juan Arena.

Fresh from an AVC Club Championships campaign in Vietnam, the Blaze Spikers led the match from the first point. The defending Grand Prix champs controlled the pace of the match mostly through their serving, which netted them 11 aces. Aside from getting them points, Petron’s methodical target serving produced multiple free ball returns, which their high-powered offense easily converted. The Blaze Spikers out-attacked Meralco, 37-24, while also limiting their errors to just 12. The Power Spikers, on the other hand, had 19 giveaways.

Petron import and starting setter, Erica Adachi masterfully set Petron’s attacks, finishing with 15 excellent sets while adding 7 points with three service aces. Adachis’ fellow Brazilian, Rupia Inck led all scorers with 15 points, while Dindin Santiago-Manabat contributed 12 markers.

“Yung mga kulang namin nung Game One – service receive at blocking – ‘yun ang inimprove namin during training. Hopefully magtuloy-tuloy na ‘to para sa amin,” said Petron head coach George Pascua after the match also addressing his team’s lack of energy during their first match – a five-set loss to the Cignal HD Spikers.

Meralco had bright moments during the match where they took full advantage of their length and denied Petron’s best attacks. But those were few and far in between.

“Kulang tayo sa anticipation,” Meralco head coach Ramil De Jesus said during a timeout. “Puro tayo hintay sa bola, hindi natin iniisip kung paano aatake o kung paano iseset ng kalaban ‘yung bola. Lagi talaga tayong mahuhuli niyan.” De Jesus had been absent from his team’s practices for the past week due to personal issues.

PSL ambassadress, Cha Cruz, topped Meralco with 12 points, the lone double-digit performer for her team. Meralco import, Christina Alessi saw limited playing time, while Ohio State University standout, Liis Kullerkann had six points; a sign of a team still finding its identity.

Petron looks to keep its momentum going when they face the Foton Tornadoes on Thursday also at the San Juan Arena. Meralco plays the RC Cola Airforce Raiders on the earlier match of the same day.

The Scores

Petron (3) – Inck 15, Manabat 12, Adachi 7, Daquis 7, Molina 7, Maraño 3, Morada 3, Cayetano 2, Aganon 0, Zapanta 0, Reyes (L)

Meralco (0) – Cruz 12, Kullerkann 6 Fajardo 5, Demecillo 5, Baron 3, Reyes 3, Alessi 1, Dy 1, Mercado 0, Macandili (L), Sison (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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