MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) The Sta. Lucia Lady Realtors returned to the win column in impressive fashion, snapping a two-game slide with a four-set victory over Black Mamba-Army, Monday at the PCV Socio-Civic Cultural Center in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte.
Jovelyn Prado shone all throughout and Aiza Maizo-Pontilla was a weapon off the bench as the Lady Realtors claimed a 25-23, 25-20, 22-25, 25-18 triumph.
With the result, Sta. Lucia improved to 2-3 in the 2021 Premier Volleyball League Open Conference, their first win since a sweep of PLDT on July 19. In between, they were beaten in four sets by Cignal HD and swept by Choco Mucho.
But they displayed their grit against the Lady Troopers, recovering from a letdown in the third set and fending off a late charge by Army in the fourth to seal the deal.
"'Yun minsan ang sakit namin," admitted Sta. Lucia coach Eddieson Orcullo. "Titigil, tapos ta-trabaho ulit. Titigil, tapos trabaho. So simple lang ang sinabi ko. Nandito na tayo eh, 'di ba? Baka pagdating sa dulo, mag-sisihan pa tayo."
"Mas maganda, ngayon pa lang trabahuhin na natin, para hindi na makakuha ng another set pa 'yung Army," he added.
Prado scored a game-high 17 points, while MJ Phillips added 14 points.
But it was the entry of Maizo-Pontillas late in the first set that allowed Sta. Lucia to snatch the win. She conspired with Mika Reyes to block Royse Tubino, giving Sta. Lucia a 24-23 lead, then drilled the crosscourt hit that served as the winner.
Sta. Lucia's offense got untracked in the second set, giving them a 2-0 lead, but their comeback attempt in the third set faltered. The Lady Realtors committed 10 unforced errors in Set 3, including a poor touch by Phillips in the final rally that helped Army extend the match.
The Lady Realtors would not be denied, however. They raced to a 22-14 advantage in the fourth set, then fended off a late rally by the Lady Troopers thanks to a clutch attack by Prado and a big hit by Jonah Sabete off a poor reception by Army.
Tubino and veteran Ging Balse-Pabayo led Army with 13 points, while Jovelyn Gonzaga was limited to 11 points though she also contributed 18 digs. The Lady Troopers dropped to 1-3 in the competition.