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PLDT rip KIA in imports’ impressive debut

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New American imports Victoria Hurtt and Sareea Freeman led the PLDT Ultra Fast Hitters to demolish KIA Forte 25-12, 25-12, 23-25, 25-21 in the Shakeys V-League Reinforced Conference at FilOil Flying V Arena, Saturday afternoon.

Hurtt quickly made her presence felt in the opening set, powering the Ultra Fast Hitters to a comfortable 20-10 lead against KIA, as the Forte struggle to establish themselves offensively. PLDT continued to dominate KIA in the following set, with Hurtt delivering an off-the-block kill for a 17-9 lead. Freeman and Lou Ann Latigay also contributed down the stretch to give PLDT a two-to-none set lead.

The play was back and forth in the third set, with KIA leading 16-14 at the second technical timeout. Janine Marciano, Gretchel Soltones, and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas combined efforts to give PLDT a 23-21 advantage. Still, KIA had some gas left in the tank as Alexa Micek and Michiko Castaneda bailed out the Forte for a deadlock at 23. Roces committed an attack error to give KIA a 24-23 lead and Chie Saet found a hole in PLDT floor defense to snatch a set for the the Forte.

Freeman and Marciano led PLDT against an energized KIA in the fourth set, giving PLDT a slim 16-14 lead heading to the second timeout. Hurtt and Marciano took over in the PLDT offense in the latter part of the set, as KIA struggle to answer.

“Getting to know each other pa, nagkakapaan pa sila lalo noong Wednesday lang dumating sila (imports) buti na lang next week pa ang semis kaya maayos pa,” said PLDT coach Roger Gorayeb on his assessment on the chemistry of PLDT imports and local players.

Hurtt unloaded 21 points, 20 coming from attacks on her PLDT debut, while Freeman chipped 15 markers. Solid contributions from local players included Marciano and Pontillas, who had 10 and 9 points apiece.

Micek and Shiela Pineda combined for 20 points for the Forte, with the latter also had nine digs. Michiko Castaneda and Wenneth Eulalio came through with nine and eight points respectively. Angeli Tabaquero, converted to libero for this game from her usual outside hitter position, also had 12 digs.

The Ultra Fast Hitters ended their elimination round campaign at 4-1 win-loss card and grabbed the twice to beat advantage as the second seeded team, while KIA finished with 1-4 win-loss card and bowed out of the semifinals race.
The Scores:

PLDT(3)– Hurtt 21, Freeman 15, Marciano 10, Pontilas 9, Roces 7, Soltones 2, Soriano 2, De Leon 1, Ferrer 1, Pantone (L), De Jesus (L)

KIA (1)– Pineda 10, Micek 10, Castaneda 9, Eulalio 8, Saet 3, Layug 2, Guevarra 1, Legacion 1, Basco 0, Cui (L), Tabaquero (L)

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