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Sta. Lucia weathers Chery Tiggo fightback in delay-marred PVL game


BACARRA, ILOCOS NORTE — MJ Phillips played huge on the defensive end as Sta. Lucia fended off Chery Tiggo in five sets, 25-20, 25-12, 24-26, 21-25, 15-10, for its third win in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference on Wednesday here at the PCV Socio-Civic and Cultural Center.

The Lady Realtors earlier dropped three of their first four games. They are now on a two-game winning streak for a 3-3 record.

Up by just two points, 12-10, Sta. Lucia got its much-needed separation when Tina Salak botched a service attempt. That error upped their lead to three.

That’s when Phillips came in for the Lady Realtors, securing a huge rejection on Dindin Santiago-Maanabat to put Sta. Lucia at match-point.

Another block on Santiago-Manabat courtesy of Dell Palomata and Phillips ended the match at 15-10.

The 26-year-old from Carson, California delivered 23 big points  0151 her biggest this conference — built on 16 attacks, a whopping total of five blocks, and two aces.

“I don’t think bumababa ‘yung laro namin. Pinush lang ng Chery Tiggo na makuha ang set na iyon,” said Sta. Lucia head coach Eddieson Orcullo. “Sa part namin, pinilit naming ma-compress pero the game is a game. Sometimes may error, sometimes my pressure, pero ‘yun napanghahawakan namin.

“Kailangan lang maintindihan ng mga bata to keep on fighting, keep on believing, and just enjoy the game.”

Jovie Prado played stellar in her second start for the squad, finishing with 19 points, 14 excellent digs, and 13 excellent receptions. Jonah Sabete fired 18 markers and collected 12 excellent receptions.

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Sta. Lucia setter Djanel Cheng dished out 19 assists and scored six points, while Bang Pineda had 15 excellent digs.

Sta. Lucia surged to a 25-20 set-one win before upping its performance in the set. It started with a huge 17-3 blast before eventually taking a 25-12 win for the 2-0 advantage.

A power interruption entering the third set caused a delay of less than 30 minutes.

Chery Tiggo overcame the Lady Realtors in the third set, coming out victorious after a 24-26 affair to prevent the sweep. They then followed with a 25-21 performance to send the match to a winner-take-all fifth set.

Santiago-Manabat top-scored for the Crossovers with 20 points. Jaja Santiago netted 14 markers on 10 attacks, three blocks, and an ace.

Chery Tiggo fell to a 3-2 standing.

Sta. Lucia’s next match has yet to be announced. Meanwhile, Chery Tiggo looks to bounce back against defending champion Creamline on Friday at 7:00 PM.

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