Malabanan, Soltones deliver as Power Hitters upset Cargo Movers
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — Jerrili Malabanan and Grethcel Soltones rose to the occasion as PLDT Home Fibr shocked powerhouse F2 Logistics in five sets, 25-21, 26-28, 15-25, 25-19, 15-11,in the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference Saturday at the jampacked Corpus Christi Gym here.
Down 1-2 in the match as the Cargo Movers dominated them in the resumption of the third set, the troika of Malabanan and Soltones lifted the Power Hitters to force a decider, where both squads fought toe-to-toe lasting for three hours and 31 minutes due to air-conditioning malfunction.
Tied at nine in the fifth set, Malabanan scored three of the team’s four straight points to reach match point, 14-10, before Kalei Mau saved a point.
But Soltones soared to close out the match and sent F2 Logistics to its second straight defeat in this prestigious women’s club tourney bankrolled by Team Rebel Sports, SOGO, Eurotel, PCSO, Cocolife, UCPB Gen, Mueller, Senoh, Asics, Bizooku and One Sport.
Malabanan and Soltones finished with 21 points apiece with the San Sebastian College standout also putting up 24 digs and 19 excellent receptions.
PLDT finished the preliminary with a 6-9 win-loss card, locked in at No.6.
“I’m happy for my team. Everyone played well. Especially Jerrili she really played great in the fifth set,” said PLDT head coach Roger Gorayeb. “We could have played at this level from the start but why only now? But it’s alright we still have a chance next round.”
“We’re confidently entering the next round,” added Gorayeb, whose team will take on will be facing the third-placer in the knockout quarterfinals.
Game officials decided to temporarily stop the match with F2 Logistics holding an 8-7 lead in the third frame.
It took almost an hour for the venue to reach a cool temperature before referees resumed the game with the Cargo Movers blazing hot dominating the third set for a 2-1 match advantage.
But the Power Hitters caught fire in the last two sets also drawing a great game from setter Jasmine Nabor, who had 31 excellent sets on top of six points, as well as Aiko Urdas adding 10 markers and Alyssa Eroa protecting the floor.
Mau erupted with 28 points including 19 digs and 10 excellent receptions while Ara Galang and Majoy Baron had 19 and 18 points, respectively, for the Cargo Movers, who suffered their second straight setback.
Aby Marano added 12 markers while Kim Fajardo returned to action from a fracture finger last conference with 15 excellent sets as F2 Logistics slid to No. 2 with an 11-2 card.