MANILA, Philippines — Sta. Lucia Realty survived a 40-point explosion from Gyselle Silva to eke out a 25-15, 25-20, 23-25, 25-22 victory over Smart in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Banking on their solid blocking and steady services, the Lady Realtors trailed in the early stretch of the fourth set before going for the kill to claim the victory.
With the win, Sta. Lucia is now tied with Cignal at the fourth spot with a 3-3 win-loss slate, just a heartbeat away from Cocolife (4-3) entering the final playing day of the first round of the tournament.
Canadian import Bohdana Anisova came through with 18 kills and four blocks to finish with 23 points, while Filipino-American MJ Philips and Canadian Marisa Field chipped in 15 and 14 markers, respectively, for the Lady Realtors, who crawled back from a 17-19 deficit en route to the victory.
The Lady Realtors also ruled the blocking department, 11-4, while scoring more aces than the Giga Hitters, 9-3, who banked on power-spiking Silva for firepower from start to finish.
The Cuban sensation erupted for 37 kills and two aces for 40 points, just a point shy of matching the league’s scoring mark set by Sara Klisura when she powered Foton to a five-set conquest of F2 Logistics in the Grand Prix last year.
Prior to this impressive offensive performance, Silva’s best scoring output was 33 points, which she tallied in her debut game against Cocolife and Cignal, respectively.
“We tried our best to stop her in the first and second sets. But in the third and fourth sets, she’s simply unstoppable,” said Sta. Lucia coach George Pascua, who ordered his wards to contain Silva if they want to pocket the victory.
“I told the team that we should grab the lead at least before Silva rotates in front. I’m glad that we were able to do that and Dana (Anisova) connected a lucky ace for the win.”
Field, who is one of the league’s best blockers, strongly agreed.
“It was good in the first two-and-a-half sets and then we kind of let up so that allowed Silva and Smart to take a chance and come back to win that third set,” she said.
With Silva asserting her dominance, the Lady Realtors found themselves trailing in the fourth set, 17-19. But Anisova and Philips restored ordered and grabbed the lead, 22-21.
Silva tied the count at 22 with a powerful attack from the open spot before Philips and Field converted from a pair of gifts from the Giga Hitters to claim the match point.
Then, Anisova connected an ace to seal the victory.
“This victory is important because it serves as a morale-booster entering the second round,” Pascua said.
In the second game, F2 Logistics shut down its first round campaign on a high note with an impressive 25-18, 25-16, 25-12 victory over Generika-Ayala.
Maria Jose Perez knocked down 15 kills and three blocks for game-high 18 points while Aby Marano had nine markers for the Cargo Movers, who missed the services of import Kennedy Bryan.
With the win, F2 Logistics captures the second spot with a 6-1 win-loss card entering the second-round of action starting this Saturday at Baliwag, Bulacan.
Symone Hayden tallied nine kills and two aces to finish with 11 points for the Lifesavers, who suffered their fifth loss in six matches.
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