MANILA, Philippines – The BanKo Perlas Spikers showed incredible fighting spirit as they rallied from a two-set deficit, then saved three match points to break the hearts of Motolite in five sets, Sunday at the Alonte Sports Arena.
Needing a victory to keep their semifinal hopes alive in the 2019 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference, the Perlas Spikers showed no quit after dropping the first two sets, and gutted out a 19-25, 23-25, 25-18, 25-22, 17-15 triumph.
With the result, they snapped a 3-game skid and improved to 3-5 in the conference. It was their first win since sweeping Motolite in their first round meeting last June 5.
"We needed to reset," said BanKo captain Nicole Tiamzon, who came up clutch in the fifth frame. "Down kami ng two sets, kailangan namin i-reset at mag-bounce back kami."
"Lalo na sa fifth set, talagang patibayan ng loob," she added.
Motolite was hoping to build on its impressive five-set triumph against BaliPure last Saturday, which saw them rally from a two-set deficit as well. They seemed to be on their way to a quick triumph after taking the first two frames, with imports Channon Thompson and Krystel Esdelle taking turns in carrying their offense.
But they faltered in the third set, where they committed 10 unforced errors to give BanKo Perlas new life. In the fourth frame, the Perlas Spikers got timely hits from veteran Sue Roces, whose down-the-line hit set the match to a deciding set after Motolite saved two set points.
In a back-and-forth fifth frame, BanKo Perlas surged ahead, 8-5, before Motolite recovered, thanks once more to its imports. Motolite reached match point at 14-12, when BanKo import Yasemin Yildirim was called for a net violation.
But Thai import Sutadta Chuewulim, who had replaced American Kia Bright, uncorked a clutch down-the-line attack, before Yildirim made up for her earlier error with a massive block on Thompson to force a deuce.
Thompson towered over the BanKo blockers in the next rally to bring Motolite to match point again, 15-14, but Tiamzon fired a kill through the opposing net defense to knot the count again. The former University of the Philippines star came through with another clutch hit that bounced off the hands of Motolite libero Thang Ponce to push BanKo to match point, 16-15, then finished off the match with another laser-sharp spike.
"Again, reset," Tiamzon said of their mindset. "Kailangan namin makapag-deuce. Wala kaming inisip kundi makapuntos lang, maka-abot doon sa 14-all. Tapos, kami naman."
Tiamzon scored 19 points in the Perlas Spikers' come-from-behind victory. Kathy Bersola had 17 points, while Yildirim scored 5 of her 16 points off kill blocks. Roces had 13 points in four sets of action, as Jem Ferrer tallied 27 excellent sets.
Chuewulim recovered from a slow start, and finished with 15 points.
It was another heartbreaking setback for Motolite, which drew 30 points from Thompson and 27 points from Esdelle, including 7 kill blocks. But skipper Myla Pablo was their only other player in double-digits, with 11 points.
Motolite dropped to 3-6 in the conference, putting them in a must-win situation heading into their final game of the group round against PetroGazz.
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