Behind a blistering 23-point performance from import Bojana Todorovic, the Philips Gold Lady Slammers claimed their second win in three games at the expense of the struggling Meralco Power Spikers 25-21, 21-25, 27-25, 25-23 in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix at the FilOil Flying V Arena.
A libero for the US National Team and an NCAA Division I champion, Todorovic continuously punished the Meralco defense with powerful attacks, soaring over opposing blockers for 22 of her 23 points while also providing excellent floor defense. NU standout Myla Pablo paced the Lady Slammers’ offense with 15 points while towering import Alexis Olgard contributed 11 markers off eight attacks and three blocks.
Both sides exchanged convincing set wins to start the match then collided for a close third set encounter. Philips Gold got to set point first, 24-22, before Meralco came alive and salvaged a 3-0 run which gave them the advantage, 25-24. Meralco setter, Kim Fajardo then snuffed her serve to align things at 25-all, opening the door for the Lady Slammers to take the set off back-to-back blocks courtesy of Olgard and team captain Michele Gumabao. The fourth set nearly had another Philps Gold endgame collapse with Meralco erasing a 24-20 lead to nearly force another deuce, 24-23. After a timeout, Philips setup a quick play for Olgard, executed it perfectly, and went home with the win.
Lady Slammers’ head coach, Francis Vicente expressed satisfaction with his team’s chemistry after the match but said his team is nowhere near its peak yet. “Nandoon na ‘yung gelling ng team. Siguro kailangan na lang namin ng kaunti pang ensayo sa mga kulang namin para mag-peak talaga ‘yung team… nakikita ko pa nga na nageeksperimento sila sa loob ng court. Maganda yoon kasi naeensayo nila sa loob ng laro, ang kaso lang delikado din kasi kailangan namin manalo,” Vicente told the media.
Having just come off an uplifting win over the defending champs Petron last Saturday, the Lady Slammers climb the standings with a 2-1 record, good for third behind the 3-2 Petron and the 3-0 Cignal HD Spikers. Meralco, on the other hand, capped their first round with their fifth loss in as many games.
American import, Liis Kullerkan topped the Power Spikers with 16 points while middle blocker Mika Reyes added 11.
Philips tussles with the 1-1 RC Cola Air Force on Thursday at the Cuneta Astrodome. While the Lady Slammers have a conditioning advantage over the Raiders, Coach Vcente does not want Air Force to suddenly find their footing at his team’s expense. “Kahit na sabihin natin na wala pa sila sa kondisyin, hindi naman natin masasabi kung kailan gaganda ang laro nila e, baka sa amin pa sila magka-kompiyansa. Mahirap na.”
Philips Gold (3) – Todorovic 23, Pablo 15, Olgard 11, Gumabao 8, Dowd 6, Dadang 4, Nepomuceno 2, Sy 1, Gohing (L), Crisostomo (L)
Meralco (1) – Kullerkann 16, Reyes 11, Alessi 9, Baron 7, Cruz 7, Demecillo 1, Mercado 0, Sison (L), Macandili (L)