PLDT picked up its first win of the 2022 Premier Volleyball League Open Conference after sweeping BaliPure, 25-20, 26-24, 25-22, on Wednesday at the Paco Arena Events and Sports Center.
Trailing by as much as four points, the Water Defenders unleashed a 4-0 spurt capped off by a Jho Maraguinot cross-court kill. That saw them take a 20-19 lead in the third set.
Dell Palomata ended the drought for PLDT, scoring off a runner. Then Janine Marciano committed an attack error which put the High Speed Hitters ahead by one.
Heather Guino-o stretched the lead to three, 23-20, with back-to-back conversions from the service line.
A kill from Marciano sliced the lead to two, but Mika Reyes’ rejection on her put PLDT at match point. Marciano kept the Water Defenders alive with a down the line kill.
Chin Basas ended the match through an off-the-block conversion.
“Sabi ko laruin nila kung ano yung ineensayo namin and at the same time alam naman namin na very short yung preparation namin,” said High Speed Hitters head coach George Pascua. “Pero siyempre hindi reason yun para hindi ka mag-perform ‘di ba? So yun lang ang lagi kong sinasabi sa kanila.”
Reyes led the High Speed Hitters in their first victory under Pascua with 11 points off seven attacks, three aces, and an ace.
Basas added eight points and 10 excellent digs. Dell Palomata also had eight markers, while Fiola Ceballos chipped in seven points and seven receptions.
Kath Arado manned the floor with 18 digs and six receptions. Rhea Dimaculangan only had 14 sets to go along with three points.
“As much as possible ako kasi, kinuha namin ‘yan to give them playing time and to perform. Kasi may mga evaluation kami para kahit papaano pasok sila,” said Pascua regading the team’s rotation.
“Kasi yung starting six namin talaga, hindi pa namin sila nakakuha sa ngayon. So at least kahit papaano ngayon every game nagi-improve. Kaya every game ang starting six namin, tinitignan namin kung sino ang maganda ang chemistry,” he added.
It was a momentum booster for the High Speed Hitters, who dropped their first two matches in Pool B. They end the group stage at third place with a 1-2 standing.
The Water Defenders will enter the quarterfinals as the Group B fourth seed with a 0-3 slate. They were spearheaded by Marciano with 13 points.
Maraguinot had an all-around outing with 10 points, 14 excellent digs, and six excellent receptions. Alina Bicar paced the offense with 22 excellent sets.
PLDT will take on the second-ranked team in Group A. On the other hand, BaliPure will face the top squad also from the same group in the quarterfinals.