MANILA, Philippines – BanKo Perlas import Jeane Horton had a mostly forgettable debut in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference, as she labored to an 11-point outing in their semifinal game against PetroGazz on Wednesday night.
Horton, who arrived in the Philippines just on Monday, replaced middle blocker Yasemin Yildirim as BanKo's import.
She managed to get only half a practice in with BanKo before playing for the team in Game 1 of their best-of-3 series. Her sluggishness was obvious: the American import committed several attack errors, and was a step slow on defense as well.
"Not yet," Horton said immediately when asked if she was at 100%. "I had a lot of unforced errors."
The Pearl Spikers did their best to rally around their new import, but fell short against a powerful PetroGazz team that featured the explosive pair of Wilma Salas and Janisa Johnson. The Angels claimed a 25-19, 25-15, 21-25, 25-12 triumph, moving a win away from a Finals appearance.
Horton was grateful for how her teammates performed, especially as she could not play to her usual level in that game.
"I'm really proud of my team, because they really picked up my slack, and I'm proud of the way they played defense and I'm proud of the way they blocked around me, played defense around my block because I know my hands were really ugly," she said.
BanKo Perlas can still spoil PetroGazz's party on Saturday, when they play in Game 2 at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
To do so, however, they are going to need much more than just 11 points from Horton – and the import is confident that she can provide just that.
"Come Saturday, it'll be a much better game," said Horton, who is looking forward to the two days of practices that she will have with the Pearl Spikers.
"I know with the two practices I have tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday. Saturday will be a better game," she predicted.
As the game is also a do-or-die affair for BanKo Perlas, Horton said to expect a nail-biter.
"It's going to be a really exciting game," she said. "We're going to be playing in Nicole (Tiamzon's) hometown, so hopefully we'll have the crowd on our side, and it'll be a really great game."
This is not the first time that Horton has played in the Philippines. Last year, she also served as the import for Cignal HD in the Philippine Superliga.
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