MANILA, Philippines - PLDT Home TVolution hardened its defense to eke out a 28-26, 16-25, 29-27, 13-25, 15-12 victory over Generika-Army in the 2014 PLDT Home DSL-Philippine Super Liga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference volleyball tournament yesterday at the Cuneta Astrodome.
With Lizlee Ann Pantone manning the floor, the Power Attackers weathered the Lady Troopers’ furious attack in the deciding set to coast to their second victory in the women’s division of this premiere club tournament supported by PLDT Home DSL and backed by Mikasa, Asics, Mueller Tapes, Jinling Sports Equipment, LGR, Bench and Healthway Medical.
Pantone dropped 24 of PLDT Home TVolution’s 50 total digs while Sue Roces led the assault with 15 kills and an ace for a total of 17 points in the match that featured long rallies, booming spikes and excellent defense for more than two hours.
Maruja Banaticla and Louann Latigay chipped in 13 and 12 points, respectively, for the Power Attackers, who moved half-a-game behind the unbeaten leader AirAsia in the team standings of this competition organized by Sports Core with Solar Sports as official broadcast partner.
“It was our defense that pulled us through. Our defense compensated our shortage in offense,” said Power Attackers coach Roger Gorayeb, whose wards did a splendid job in frustrating the troika of Rachel Daquis, Mary Jean Balse and Jovelyn Gonzaga all game long.
“Generika was a tough opponent. They are the most solid team in the league. We had a hard time penetrating their defense. Fortunately, the girls worked hard on defense and reception, especially in the fifth set.”
Taking advantage of the absence of Army’s prized setter Tina Salak, the Power Attackers stunned the two-time champions with airtight defense in the crucial stretch of the third set, prompting Generika-Army coach Rico de Guzman to call on the untested Sarah Jane Gonzales to set up the attacks.
Gonzales did wonders in the fourth set as the Power Attackers tightened up their defense while Roces spearheaded a 6-3 blast in the opening stretch of the deciding set.
Army, behind the hot smashes of Gonzaga, tried to fight back and tied the count at 1-1. But Devandera, Latigay and Angela Benting waxed hot to keep the Power Attackers out of danger.
“Mahirap talaga na wala ang top setter mo,” said de Guzman, adding that Salak will make her debut against AirAsia next week.
Gonzaga nailed 17 of her 20 points on hits while Daquis finished with 19 markers for Army, which absorbed its first setback.