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Sta. Lucia treating each game like a championship match, says Phillips


BACARRA, ILOCOS NORTE — After a roller coaster start to the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference, the switch is finally on for the refreshed Sta. Lucia squad.

The Lady Realtors, who were once down to a 1-3 slate, are now on a two-game winning streak. They first took down Black Mamba-Army last Monday, then now Chery Tiggo.

“There’s just a flip of a switch in us.

“We were just like, ‘We gotta go, it’s now or never’,” said Sta. Lucia spiker MJ Phillips on the team’s streak.

On Wednesday evening, the 6-foot Phillips showed the way to a shaky Lady Realtors side. She played huge on the defensive end in the winner-take-all fifth set against the Crossovers on Wednesday.

Needing only two points to seal the win, Phillips rose for a beautiful block on Dindin Santiago-Manabat. She then connived with Dell Palomata on the ensuing play for another rejection on the Chery Tiggo opposite hitter.

2021-PVL-Open-Chery-Tiggo-vs-Sta-Lucia-Bang-Pineda-x-Jonah-Sabete-x-Djanel-Cheng-x-MJ-Phillips Sta. Lucia treating each game like a championship match, says Phillips News PVL Volleyball  - philippine sports news

Through that, the Lady Realtors weathered a surging storm from the Crossovers, 25-20, 25-12, 24-26, 21-25, 15-10, at the PCV Socio-Civic and Cultural Center here on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old outside hitter from California fired a conference-high 23 points built on 16 attacks — five huge blocks — and two aces.

“We’re getting our rhythm and we’re just hungry.

“We just wanna keep winning, and just fight and leave it all out on the court — just like a championship game, every game,” said Phillips, a product of Juniata College.

Sta. Lucia, who suffered losses to Creamline, Choco Mucho, and Cignal, found its winning combination. It inserted 5-foot-8 dynamo Jovielyn Prado into its starting six — replacing veteran Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, who now plays a crucial role for the Lady Realtors’ bench.

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Also earning her starting spot is Djanel Cheng. She previously played backup to veteran playmaker Rubie De Leon at the start of the season.

“Just go for everything and not let anything drop. We just gotta keep pushing whether we’re tired or we’re out of rhythm. We just gotta keep going and dig deep.”

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