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Giga Hitters, Lifesavers post contrasting wins

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Smart eked out a 26-16, 18-25, 25-20, 23-25, 15-11 victory over Cocolife to step back on the winning track in the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

Gretchel Soltones played like a grizzled veteran down the stretch to power the Giga Hitters to their second win in four games in this prestigious women’s club tourney bankrolled by Isuzu, Sogo, Asics, Mikasa, Mueller, UCPB Gen and Bizooku with Genius Sports as technical provider.

Meanwhile, Generika-Ayala extended Sta. Lucia’s losing streak to five following a 25-7, 25-11, 25-21 victory in the second game of this battle that also has ESPN5, Hyper HD and Aksyon TV as broadcast partners.

Patty Orendain finished with 16 points, while Marivic Meneses and Angeli Araneta also had 11 markers apiece for the Lifesavers, who improved to 2-3.

Generika-Ayala tallied 42 attacks compared to 14 hits of Sta. Lucia after 90 minutes of action.

Soltones, the former Most Valuable Player in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, delivered 17 points laced with 16 digs and 25 excellent receptions for Smart, which also drew powerful performance from Czarina Carandang, Jerrili Malabanan and Joyce Sta. Rita.

Malabanan tallied 13 hits while Malabanan and Sta. Rita delivered 10 markers apiece.

“It was tough. Coming from two losses, it was really hard to regain our confidence, said Sta. Rita following the grueling battle that lasted for two hours and 21 minutes featuring thrilling rallies, superb blocks and a lot of on-court hustles from both squads.

“Not everyone knows how difficult it was for the team. But we’re happy that we finally get another win.”

After finishing at the bottom of the Grand Prix, the re-tooled Smart opened its bid with a victory over Sta. Lucia before bowing to powerhouse squads Petron and Foton in straight sets.

Against the young Asset Managers, the Giga Hitters simply refused to lose.

Soltones took the cudgels in the fifth set as the Giga Hitters raced to an 8-4 lead en route to the match point, 14-11.

Playmaker Jasmine Nabor stressed that losing wasn’t an option.

“In the fifth set, we told ourselves that we can’t afford to lose the game, we have to win the game to redeem ourselves and to regain our confidence back,” said Nabor, who is accounted for 24 of the Giga Hitters’ 26 excellent sets.

Filipino-American spiker Kalei Mau put on a show, finishing with 25 points, 15 digs and 27 excellent receptions for Cocolife, which remains winless in four outings.

Shannen Palec and Justine Tiu helped Mau carry the scoring load as they combined for 22 markers.