Thanks to a masterful 18-point performance from Cha Cruz, the Shopinas.com Lady Clickers claimed their fourth win as they dropped the Mane ‘n Tail Lady Stallions in three sets, 25-23, 25-20, 25-16, sweeping the season series in the second round of eliminations jn the Philippine Super Liga All-Filipino Conference at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Cruz’s 18 points came off 15 attacks, two blocks, and an ace. Her former La Salle wing-woman, Paneng Mercado put together a solid 14-point outing, while middle blocker, Kim Dy, contributed nine points for the Lady Clicker cause.
The Lady Stallions set a blistering pace to start the match considering their leading scorer, Royse Tubino, was on the bench. Mane ‘n Tail built a 15-10 lead with impressive attack variation, but Shopinas slowly caught in with their antics. The Lady Clickers slugged away at Mane ‘n Tail’s lead, eventually breaking through when La Salle’s Kim Dy dished out two consecutive blocks. This was then followed by an attack to tie the set at 18. Her former La Salle seniors, Paneng Mercado and Cha Cruz, took the wheel from there, combining for four attacks to punctuate a 5-0 run, which gave Shopinas a decisive 23-18 advantage. As Royse Tubino entered the match, Shopinas came close to letting the Lady Stallions slide back in as they gave away errors and misread Mane ‘n Tail’s attacks. Luckily, PSL ambassador Cha Cruz easily put out the Lady Stallions fire as she scored the Lady Clickers’ last two points.
Mane ‘n Tail seemed prepared to trade blows with Shopinas in the following set, but their service reception abandoned them midway through the frame. With Shopinas leading by a single point, 13-12, Mane ‘n Tail suddenly forgot how to receive, Shopinas setter, Welsh Cheng’s serves. The Lady Clickers rattled off nine straight points as they easily dug up the Lady Stallions uncoordinated attacks. A sudden late run, highlighted by three thunderous Royse Tubino attacks, got Mane ‘n Tail to within four points of the Lady Clickers, 19-23. Almost on cue, Cha Cruz stomped out Mane ‘n Tail’s fire as she again delivered Shopinas’ last two points to save the second set.
Another surge midway through the final set sinched the match for the Lady Clickers. With the set tied at seven, Shopinas grabbed 13 of the next 18 points courtesy of Mane ‘n Tail’s attack errors and Cha Cruz’s timely hits. Mane ‘n Tail completely crumbled by the end of the match with three of Shopinas’ last five points coming off their miscues.
Coming off a heartbreaking five-set loss to the Philips Gold Lady Slammers yesterday, Shopinas Head Coach, Ramil De Jesus, stated that he was still unsatisfied with his team’s overall conditioning. “Since the start of the of the season naman, hindi talaga ako satisfied sa conditioning namin. Ito kasing mga games ‘yung nagiging practice namin talaga. So mahirap talaga maghanda ‘pag ganoon,” De Jesus stated.
Coach De Jesus also explored a new caveat for his team as he toggled between two Liberos, Bia General and Rochelle Sison. The change, De Jesus said, was to give his regular starting Libero, General a break as the current NU Lady Bulldog still had volleyball obligations outside the team.
The Lady Clickers will face the struggling Cignal HD Spikers on while Mane ‘n Tail looks to get back on track against the Petron Blaze Spikers. Both matches will take place on Saturday.
Shopinas (3) – Cruz 18, Mercado 14, Dy 9, Laborte 7, Mandapat 5, Cheng 2, Angustia 1, Tan 0, Hingpit 0, General (L), Sison (L)
Mane ‘n Tail (0) – Gendrauli 11, Tubino 10, Mabbayad 8, Dawson 5, Praca 4, Gustillo 3, Argarin 1, Basco 0, Amad 0, Cortel (L), Diaz (L)