(UPDATED) Sta. Lucia barged into the win column of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference, after a straight sets triumph over PLDT Home Fibr, 25-18, 25-19, 25-21, on Monday at the PCV Socio-Civic Cultural Center in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte.
It was a bounce-back victory for Sta. Lucia after their four-set loss to defending champion Creamline last Saturday, the opening day of the first ever professional volleyball league in the Philippines.
Veteran middle blocker Mika Reyes led the way for the Lady Realtors with 11 points on nine attacks, one block, and one service ace. MJ Phillips had 14 points, including five blocks, while Dell Palomata added 12 points on nine kills and two rejections.
"Lahat, maayos 'yung game," said Sta. Lucia coach Eddieson Orcullo afterwards. "'Yung buong team, maayos naman 'yung nilaro. Pati 'yung mga nasa labas, nag-trabaho rin sila."
Sta. Lucia recovered from a slow start to take the opening set, imposing their will at the net to fluster the PLDT attackers. The Fibr Hitters also struggled with their reception, particularly when veteran setter Rubie de Leon was at the service line.
In the second set, the Lady Realtors pounced on attack errors by Isa Molde and Toni Rose Basas to break a 10-all deadlock and take control of the frame. However, the set was stopped with Sta. Lucia ahead, 20-15, once again due to rains that caused wet spots on the floor.
On Sunday night, the game between Black Mamba-Army and PetroGazz was stopped for over three hours due to heavy rains.
Fortunately for Sta. Lucia and PLDT, they didn't have to wait quite as long as play was resume at 4:38 p.m., some 30 minutes after the break. The Fibr Hitters quickly scored three straight points to threaten, but Palomata restored order with back-to-back hits, and PLDT's errors allowed the Lady Realtors to close out the frame.
PLDT showed its fight in the third set, clawing their way back from a 16-11 deficit to come within one point, 22-21, as Sta. Lucia committed a slew of errors. But Molde misfired on a backrow hit, Phillips registered a huge block, and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas closed out PLDT with a hit off the blockers.
"Ang usapan kasi sa game plan, maglaro kayo diyan sa loob, maglalaro kami dito sa labas," Orcullo noted. "Happy naman (ako) sa nilalaro nila."
Meanwhile, PLDT dropped its second consecutive match. The Fibr Hitters bowed to Chery Tiggo in straight sets last Saturday.
Molde led PLDT with 11 points, but their offense continued to struggle as they only had 35 attacks to 49 for Sta. Lucia. Moreover, the Lady Realtors registered a whopping 10 kill blocks to only one for the Fibr Hitters.