PLDT forced a four-way tie at the top spot after a thrilling five-set win over Petro Gazz, 21-25, 31-29, 25-21, 21-25, 15-13 in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference, Thursday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.
Michelle Morente led the way for the High Speed Hitters with 21 points on 18 attacks, two blocks, and one ace to go along with 15 excellent digs while Mean Mendrez scored 21 as well on 18 attacks, two aces, and a block.
With the win, the High Speed Hitters – who have now won their last three games – are now tied with Creamline, F2 Logistics, Chery Tiggo at the number one seat with identical 3-1 records.
“Yung streak hindi naman namin pinu-push. Ang habol lang namin, kagaya nung sinabi last time, basta mag-improve every game,” said PLDT head coach Rald Ricafort, who went up against his former team for the first time this tournament.
Both teams went back and forth in the final frame – which had a total of six deadlocks – before the High Speed Hitters got a little bit of breathing room after Mika Reyes and Jovy Prado scored on consecutive hits, which was followed by a net violation on Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, that put them ahead, 12-10.
Mendrez, however, committed a service error while Jonah Sabete cashed in an off-the-block hit. Sabete’s next attack sailed out but Remy Palma scored one from a broken play to once again tie the scores, this time at 13-all.
Dell Palomata then hung in the air before unleashing a quick attack that put PLDT at match point before Morente sliced Petro Gazz’s defense with a crosscourt hit to finish the game.
“Ang sabi ko kanina parang nangyari nung sa F2, kung hindi namin makuha kaagad, daanin sa tiyaga and sa character din kasi fifth set ulit,” added Ricafort.
Prado poured 15 points to go along with 13 excellent receptions for the High Speed Hitters while Dell Palomata and Mika Reyes added 12 and nine markers, respectively.
Rhea Dimaculangan tossed 19 excellent sets while Kath Arado collected 40 digs in the contest as well as 20 excellent receptions.
The Angels, who dropped their second game of the tournament after winning the first two, are now tied with Choco Mucho at the fifth spot with 2-2 win-loss slates.
MJ Phillips paced Petro Gazz in her first full game, scoring 24 points on 18 attacks and six blocks while Maizo-Pontillas and Grethcel Soltones chipped in 19 and 17 points, respectively, in a losing cause.
Maizo and Soltones also had 16 digs each while Cienne Cruz gathered 23 excellent receptions.
PLDT takes on Akari on Tuesday at 6:30 PM while Petro Gazz will face F2 Logistics on Thursday also at 6:30 PM both at the Philsports Arena.