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Blaze Spikers outsmart Giga Hitters

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Games on April 3
(Filoil Flying V Centre)

4:15 pm – Foton vs Cignal
9:00 pm – Cocolife vs Sta. Lucia

BALIUAG, Bulacan – Petron unleashed a furious rally down the stretch to eke out a heart stopping 25-22, 22-25, 25-18, 26-24 victory over Smart in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix before a massive weekend crowd at the Baliuag Star Arena here.

Import Lindsay Stalzer and Frances Molina came through with clutch hits while Mika Reyes belittled another furious performance from Gyselle Silva as the Blaze Spikers preserved their immaculate slate in this prestigious club tourney bankrolled by Isuzu and UCPB Gen with ESPN5 as official broadcast partner.

It was Petron’s eighth consecutive victory, putting it two wins shy of sweeping the eliminations and bagging the top seed in the quarterfinals of this battle that also has Mikasa, Asics, Senoh, LGR and Grand Sport as technical sponsors.

Stalzer, the Most Valuable Player in 2015, finished the job with 17 attacks and two aces for 19 points while Molina and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas chipped in 13 markers apiece for Petron, which missed the services of American import Hillary Hurley who is still recovering from a mild injury.

Reyes, for her part, delivered three blocks for a nine-hit effort.

More importantly, her defense on Silva played a crucial role in this important win before the league heads to a 10-day break in observance of the Lenten Season.

“Smart gave us a very good fight,” said Reyes, who did a superb job in containing the high-scoring Silva in the first two sets.

“Kudos to Gyselle Silva. Her heart was there, making sure that all her spikes would be converted into points. We were inspired to stop her. I told myself that I will block her no matter what.”
With Silva wreaking havoc at the attack zone, the Giga Hitters erected a five-point lead in the fourth set and threatened to stretch the match into a deciding set, 22-17.

Although Stalzer delivered three consecutive hits, Silva scored on back-to-back aces to give Smart the set point, 24-21.

But the Blaze Spikers didn’t surrender.

Stalzer unloaded a powerful spike from the right wing before Chloe Cortez scored off a gift. Molina, then, uncorked a pair of spikes to give Petron the match point, 25-24.

Stalzer finished the match with an ace, towing the Blaze Spikers out of danger in a marathon match that lasted for one hour and 42 minutes.

Silva had another glowing performance with 32 kills, two blocks and five aces to finish with 39 points, just two points shy of matching the record-setting 41-point performance tallied by Sara Klisura last year.

Her partner, Sanja Trivunovic, submitted only 11 markers for the Giga Hitters, who remain winless in eight outings.