MANILA, Philippines - Dindin Santiago debuted with a 37-hit performance as Petron blazed past PLDT, 27-25, 23-25, 19-25, 26-24, 15-10, to gain an early share of the lead with AirAsia in the PLDT Home DSL Philippine Super Liga All-Filipino Conference at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay yesterday.
The power-hitting 6-3 Santiago, the top overall pick in the draft, played to her full potential as she spearheaded the team’s fightback from a set down with a slew of attacks from all angles that the PLDT frontliners and diggers had failed to neutralize or return.
“This game showed why Dindin is the first pick,” said Petron coach George Pascua in Pilipino. “We gave all the play to her because she has the advantage in height and skills and she used them well.”
Carmina Aganon, another rookie pick and a teammate of Santiago at National U, likewise made a good account of herself as she came through with an all-around effort, including 10 kills, four blocks and two service aces.
Perpetual Help’s Sandra delos Santos and Far Eastern U’s Maika Morada added 12 and 10, respectively, to backstop the Petron ladies.
The Power Attackers took charge in the early going with Suzanne Roces and the Louann Latigay going on a spiking spree to finish with 21 and 19 hits, respectively.
With Santiago on the firing end, Petron raced to an 18-13 lead in the fourth but the Power Attackers fought their way back to snatch a 23-22 lead on a Roces spike and a Delos Santos error.
But Santiago and Aganon countered with a kill each before Roces struck back to knot it anew at 24. Another Santiago kill and a Morada ace, however, gave Petron the fourth set for the decider.
It was all-Petron from there with Santiago delivering the lethal blows, including an off-the-block clincher.