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Phillips, Soyud link up as Sta. Lucia wriggles past Generika-Ayala

CAVITE — The Sta. Lucia Lady Realtors leaned on the firepower of MJ Phillips and Eli Soyud down the stretch, sneaking past the Generika-Ayala Lifesavers, 14-25, 25-20, 25-23, 20-25, 15-11, to bolster their semis bid in the 2019 PSL Invitationals, Tuesday at the Bacoor Strike Gym.

Phillips and Soyud finished with 16 and 14 points, respectively. The former fired 12 attacks and a pair of kill blocks, while the latter rained down 10 hits and two service aces. The Sta. Lucia duo powered the Lady Realtors in the nip-and-tuck decider when the Lifesavers threatened to seize command late.

During a 10-all stalemate, a frenetic rally ensued. Phillips then pounced on the opportunity, detonating a back row bomb that gave Sta. Lucia a slim edge. Though Pam Lastimosa coughed on the next sequence, Soyud delivered the differential hit to keep momentum in her team’s favor.

Following a trade of punches, Phillips roofed Fiola Ceballos and buoyed Sta. Lucia at match point, 14-12. Ceballos then tried to atone for her costly error but unfortunately, her attack sailed wide, lifting Sta. Lucia to 2-2 in Pool D.

“Ibinibigay ko talaga sa mga bata kasi mas maganda maglaro nung sila yung naglaro mismo. Ang tanging sinabi ko lang yun laging reminders na na-ensayo na namin ‘yan, ginawa na namin sa training. Ang kailangan lang ma-execute ng tama,” said Sta. Lucia interim head coach Eddison Orcullo as he called the shot in lieu of Babes Castillo, who was kicked upstairs.

Amanda Villanueva flashed her all-around brilliance with eight points, seven excellent receptions, and 16 excellent digs. Meanwhile, Lastimosa herself supplied 11 markers.

#ReadMore  Rookie coach Racela emotional after steering TNT to Finals

Sta. Lucia setter Rubie De Leon tossed 14 excellent sets, while defensive specialist Juliet Catindig collected 30 excellent digs and seven excellent receptions.

Ceballos top-billed with 18 points from 16 attacks, but it all went for naught as Generika-Ayala stumbled to 1-3. Mean Mendrez had a stellar offensive game of her own, chipping 17 markers anchored in five blocks and four service aces. She also had 21 digs to post a double-double in a losing cause.

Ria Meneses added 15 points, four of which coming from rejections, while Patty Orendain had nine markers and 24 excellent digs. Generika-Ayala playmaker Jamie Lavitoria fanned out 16 excellent sets.

Sta. Lucia look to sustain their momentum when they face the Foton Tornadoes Blue Energy on Thursday, October 10, at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center. Generika-Ayala try to return to the win column against the surging F2 Logistics Cargo Movers on Saturday, October 12, at the Caloocan Sports Complex.

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