In one of the closest battles of the season, the RC Cola-Army Lady Troopers survived the Petron Tri-Activ Spikers, 25-19, 25-23, 16-25, 25-20 in the Philippine Superliga Invitational at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
After an easy first set win, Army faced a resurgent Petron in the following sets. Powered by the high-flying Bang Pineda, Petron erased a two-point deficit and took a four-point advantage, 16-12. Petron’s coordinated plays then turned into costly errors. After consecutive kills from Rachel Daquis, Army received an infusion of three Petron errors that pushed them ahead, 22-19. Following a timeout, Petron managed to score twice and force an Army timeout. Royse Tubino’s hitting buoyed Army to reach set point first, 24-22, and set up a CJ Rosario serve error that gave Army the frame.
A disgruntled Army head coach Kungfu Reyes described his team’s third set effort as atrocious.
“Nawala talaga kami bigla noong third set,” he recalled. “Titignan pa namin, pero siguro kinulang kami talaga sa energy noon. Na-ensayo na namin ‘yun. Talagang kinuha sa amin nang Petron ‘yung set. Hindi na rin alo nakapag-timeout kasi alam kong wala na kami noon.”
Refusing to go down the way they did during the third round, Army fought hard in the fourth set. Clinging to a one-point lead, 16-15, Army’s Royse Tubino caught fire and scored four times in a 5-1 run that pushed Army to a 21-16 lead. Petron got within three, 21-18, but their own silly errors dragged them down in the end.
Tubino compiled 15 points off 13 attacks, a block, and an ace. Jovelyn Gonzaga added 14 markers and four digs.
“As of now, nasa adjustment period pa rin kami. Hopefully, hindi nga maka-apekto ang fatigue sa amin in the following days,” Reyes added.
Aiza Maizo-Pontillas amassed a game-high 21 markers, while former National U Lady Bulldog Mina Aganon contributed 12 points for Petron.
Army take on the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers tomorrow, 4 p.m. at the FilOil Flying V Centre. Petron face Thai club EST Cola in the following match.
Army (3) – Tubino 15, Gonzaga 14, Daquis 7, Bunag 5, Gonzales 5, Sabas 4, Bautista 3, Carolino 3, De Los Reyes 1, Salak 0, Nunag (L), Agno (L)
Petron (1) – Pontillas 21, Aganon 12, Morada 6, Pineda 6, Molina 5, Legacion 1, Rosario 1, Masangkay 0, Zapanta 0, Del Mundo 0, Reyes (L)