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RC Cola avoids late meltdown, keeps Meralco winless

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With a powerful performance by their imports, Puerto Rico National Team stalwart, Lynda Morales, and American, Sara McClinton, the Air Force raiders quelled a late-game rally from the Meralco Power Spikers and claimed their debut match of the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix in five sets, 25-20, 17-25, 20-25, 25-21, 15-13.

Both teams struggled to get momentum early in the match, but the Raiders took the set through Morales’ spectacular attacking. The following sets saw Meralco amp up their serving, lessening Air Force’s good passes. With Mika Reyes and Mary Joy Baron nabbing crucial points down the stretch, Meralco took a 2-1 set lead. Air Force finally got better receives in the fourth set to involve their imports in the offense again, dragging the match to the deciding set.

Scoring five early points, Morales powered the Raiders early in the fifth frame to an 8-5 lead. Attacks from McClinton combined with Meralco’s errors buried the Power Spikers in an 11-6 hole. After a timeout, the Power Spikers mounted a final rally, taking advantage of Morales’ absence in the front row and tying the match at 12. A steady exchange of attacks, with a Morales quick hit over a triple-block, gave Air Force the match point at 14-13. Meralco Team Captain, Cha Cruz tried to answer in the following point, but her attempt hit the tape of the net, sealing Air Force’s victory.

“Nawalan talaga kami nang reception noong gitnang dalawang set kaya tumagal ‘yung laban. Maganda ‘yung nilaro noong Morales pero dahil middle siya, kailangan namin ng magandang reception para mabigyan siya ng bola. Hopefully ngayong may oras na kami mag-ensayo, maayos na namin ‘yung mga problema namin sa court,” said Air Force Head Coach Rhovyl Verayo.

Morales was the match top-scorer with 26 points off 19 attacks and seven blocks, while McClinton added 20 markers off 16 attacks, three blocks, and an ace.

Meralco’s Kullerkann had her best performance of the season, picking up 18 points off 15 attacks, two blocks, and an ace. DLSU stalwart Mika Reyes doled out 15 points, while Cha Cruz nabbed 11 points. Meralco dropped to 0-3.

The Raiders will face Petron (1-1) next at the Cuneta Astrodome on Tuesday, October 20, while Meralco has the Cignal HD Spikers (2-0) also at the Cuneta Astrodome on October 17, Saturday.

The Scores

Air Force (3) – Morales 26, McClinton 20, Yongco 7, Caballejo 5, Dimaculangan 4, Ortiz 3, Cases 1, Samana 0, Abaldo (L), Balcamedo (L)

Meralco (2) – Kullerkann 18, Reyes 15, Cruz 11, Demecillo 9, Baron 9, Fajardo 6, Mercado 1, Alessi 1, Dy 0, Esperanza 0, Macandili (L)

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Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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