When in doubt, the Petron Tri-Activ Spikers go to import Stephanie Niemer.
And go to Niemer they did, in an epic five-set win over the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers, 25-23, 23-25, 17-25, 25-22, 15-10, in the PSL Grand Prix semifinals at the Ibalong Sports Complex in Legazpi, Albay.
F2 Logistics had limited Niemer in the initial three sets, and had taken a 2-1 set lead. But, with their season on the line, the Cincinnati native powered her way past F2’s improved coverage and reception to extend the match to a decider.
Niemer then put the final nails in F2’s season, bringing Petron from a 5-all deadlock to a 12-6 lead in the fifth set off her signature jump serve.
The Petron import — who had also featured for the F2 Logistics team that participated in the Women’s Club World Championship — tallied 37 points off 30 attacks, six aces, and a block.
“We buckled down and just pushed past adversity. Our season was on the line and I’m proud that we just didn’t give up when F2 gave us a challenge. F2 was a great team and I’m happy we could push past them,” said Niemer.
Petron have now set up a rematch of last season’s Grand Prix Finals against the Foton Tornadoes. Foton had taken the title in a heated three-game series.
“We haven’t beaten them this conference so we’re underdogs. We just need to prepare and focus on Foton and I believe we have what it takes to win the title,” Niemer added.
The best-of-three series begins on Thursday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
American Hayley Spelman led the Cargo Movers with 29 points, while Aby Maraño added 18.
F2 Logistics will battle RC Cola-Army in the bronze medal match.
Petron (3) – Niemer 37, Pontillas 15, Molina 12, Warner 12, Hingpit 4, Rosario 4, Aganon 2, Nunag 1, Masangkay 0, Zapanta 0, Reyes (L)
F2 Logistics (2) – Spelman 29, Maraño 18, Galang 12, Cruz Ch. 7, Reyes 6, Baron 3, Dy 1, Cheng 0, Kemper 0, Macandili (L)