Kuthaisong, Araneta lift Generika-Ayala past United VC
Generika-Ayala survived a furious performance from Filipino-American star Kalei Mau to score a come-from-behind 25-23, 21-25, 19-25, 27-25, 15-12 victory over United VC in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Import Kanjana Kuthaisong and skipper Angeli Araneta came to the rescue for the Lifesavers, who hung tough down the stretch to eke out the thrilling win in this prestigious women’s club tourney bankrolled by Asics, Mueller, Mikasa, Senoh, Team Rebel Sports, Bizooku, UCPB Gen, Cocolife, Hotel Sogo and Data Project.
Kuthaisong finished with 19 points, including the match-clinching kill, while Araneta had only eight points but provided tons of leadership down the stretch for the Lifesavers, who lost middle blocker Marivic Meneses to injury.
More than that, the Lifesavers survived the 33-point performance of Mau, who is gaining a reputation of being one of the country’s best attackers.
“I asked the team if they have the power to play in the fifth set. Because if they don’t have the power, we will definitely lose the game,” said Generika-Ayala coach Sherwin Meneses, whose wards improved to 3-7 win-loss card as this season-opening conference enters the crucial stretch of preliminaries.
“But they showed that they are in great condition and they have what it takes to win in five sets.”
Spiker Fiola Ceballos was also instrumental with 16 hits while Mikaela Lopez chipped in nine markers for Generika-Ayala, which drew impressive performance from libero Bia General who had 33 digs and 20 excellent receptions.
Still, it was Araneta who held the Lifesavers together when the game was on the line.
“She showed that all locals are playing well. She is the treasure player who can play together with the top players in the country,” said Meneses referring to the former University of the Philippines stalwart.
With the match extending to five sets, Kuthaisong and Araneta delivered the crucial hits that put the Lifesavers ahead, 10-6.
Although Mau, Alohi Robins-Hardy and Yaasmeen Bedart-Ghani tied the decider at 12-all, back-to-back crucial miscues from Mau and Bedart-Ghani’s gave the Lifesavers the match point, 14-12.
Then, Kuthaisong unleashed a booming kill for the match point.
Aside from Mau, Bedart-Ghani also shone with 25 markers while Robins-Hardy tallied 28 excellent sets and nine markers for United VC, which missed the services of import Tai Manu-Olevao who flew to Hawaii for an important family matter.
United VC fell to 5-6.