MANILA, Philippines – Kendra Dahlke displayed her might once more in powering PLDT Home Fibr to an emphatic 25-23, 25-16, 25-22 triumph over United VC in the 2019 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix on Thursday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Matched up against former Arizona teammate Kalei Mau, Dahlke towed the Power Hitters to victory, thus formally securing a twice-to-beat bonus in the quarterfinals of the club tournament.
Dahlke contributed 21 kills, two blocks, and an ace for 24 points, while Grace Lazard also shone with 15 points. Aiko Urdas added nine points for PLDT, as setter Jasmine Nabor registered 24 excellent sets with 18 digs and 3 attacks.
The Power Hitters improved to third place with their 8-6 win-loss record, but their spot has yet to be cemented as fourth-placer Cignal can still snatch that place should it prevail over F2 Logistics in three or four sets on Thursday.
United VC, for its part, fell to 6-6. They have to win their last two matches to claim the last quarterfinals bonus.
"We needed this win because we want to avoid falling into fifth place," said PLDT head coach Roger Gorayeb. "That could be a tough position for us."
"I told them that as much as possible, we have to win in three sets to improve our ranking," he added. "I'm glad that the players responded well."
Although PLDT started slow, 12-17, in the first set, it managed to fight its way back with a 6-1 run capped by three consecutive hits from Dahlke to inch closer, 17-18. Lazard then delivered a booming kill to seal the win in the first frame and dictate the tempo the rest of the way.
"It was a lethargic first set for us. I'm happy that my wards showed their determination to win this important game. That was a losing set already, but they did everything to shift the momentum," said Gorayeb.
Dahlke and Lazard engineered a torrid run in the third set to give the Power Hitters a 23-18 lead, but Yaasmeen Bedart-Ghani and Amy Ahomiro quickly shaved it to within two, 21-23.
Lazard stopped the bleeding as she delivered the match point, But Bedart-Ghani saved a point before Urdas unleashed the game-winning spike.
Bedart-Ghani delivered 21 points while Mau had 18 markers laced with 20 excellent receptions for United VC, which continued to play without import Tai Manu-Olevao.
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