Power Hitters outlast HD Spikers; take bronze in PSL Grand Prix
PLDT Home Fibr went through the wringer before escaping a game Cignal squad, 25-19, 25-18, 20-25, 20-25, 19-17, to capture the bronze medal in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The Power Hitters were on the brink of winning until Erica Wilson and the HD Spikers sprung back to life to tie things up and forge a deciding fifth set.
But PLDT imports Grace Lazard and Kendra Dahlke came to the rescue as they delivered the killer blows in the crucial stretch of the decider to give the club its first podium finish 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.
Dahlke unleashed 27 points while Lazard pumped 17 kills, three blocks and two aces for a 22-point performance, including a beautiful backrow attack that served as match point, 18-17, followed by a game-winning block on Cignal import Ana Artemeva.
The locals were also instrumental with Aiko Urdas chipping in 14 points while Grethcel Soltones putting up an all-around game with 12 points laced with 22 digs and 13 digs.
Setter Jasmine Nabor made 28 excellent sets on top of 16 digs.
Despite getting swept by F2 Logistics in the semifinals, PLDT head coach Roger Gorayeb was happy over their first podium finish in just his second conference in this league that also has ESPN5 and 5Plus as broadcast partners.
“I’m happy for my players and for the company because this is just our second conference in the PSL. This is good for us as we prepare next conference,” Gorayeb said.
“We came up short in the semifinals. But I think that the title match is not yet for us. I’m still proud on how my players fought this conference.”
PLDT reached match point in the fifth set, 14-12, off Mylene Paat’s service error and Wilson’s attack error. Wilson’s strong attack and Urdas’ crucial attack error, prompted Cignal to equalize and drag the game to a deciding set.
Dahlke lifted PLDT at match point twice but Artemeva and Wilson delivered the equalizers before Rachel Anne Daquis put Cignal on the brink of winning, 17-16.
But an attack error from Paat and Lazard’s kill and block clinched the third place for the Power Hitters.
Wilson lifted Cignal with 27 kills, four blocks and a pair of aces for 33 points while Artemeva had 17 points for the HD Spikers, whose fourth-place finish is still a good improvement from last year’s sixth-place performance.
Paat tallied 11 markers while Daquis added nine hits including 15 digs and 10 excellent receptions.