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Sta. Lucia Turns Back Chery Tiggo in PVL

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Blowing a two-set lead and a 20-15 bulge in the third would have made teams of lesser stuff crash in the impact of the meltdown.

But Sta. Lucia proved its mettle and resolve in the end, hacking out a 25-20, 25-12, 24-26, 21-25, 15-11 decision over Chery Tiggo to stay on track for a shot at the semifinals of the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference here yesterday.

Though it was the Lady Realtors’ second straight victory, they remained outside of the Top 4 with a 3-3 (sixth) mark but with the way they are handling the pressure to sustain their comeback from a shaky start, they may still make it through with big games in their last three elims assignments at the PCV Socio-Civic Cultural Center.

“I don’t think we relaxed but Chery Tiggo just pushed itself hard to win (the third set),” said Sta. Lucia coach Eddie Orcullo. “For our part, we tried to force the issue. But sometimes, you commit mistakes, sometimes there is pressure.”

“But we’re able to do it. The girls just need to understand to keep on fighting, keep on believing,” he added.

The Crossovers, who spoiled the Perlas Spikers debut in three last Monday, fell to 3-2.

MJ Phillips sustained her explosive offense and finished with 23 hits, including 16 attacks, while Jovie Prado banged away 19 kills and Jonah Sabete came away with 18 points to underscore Sta. Lucia’s balanced offensive sock.

Dindin Manabat pumped in 20 points while sister Jaja Santiago added 14 hits and Rachel Austero, Mylene Paat and Shaya Adorador combined for 20 points for the Crossovers, who succumbed to the Lady Realtors’ power game, 48-56, and yielded two points in their duel off the net, 10-12.

Coming off a four-set triumph over Black Mamba Army last Monday, Sta. Lucia rode on a blistering windup in the first set then took advantage of its rival’s sloppy game in the next to go 2-0. The Lady Realtors, behind Phillips, Sabete, Prado, Dell Palomata, Aiza Pontillas and Djanel Cheng, sustained their charge and moved five points away, 20-15, from completing a surprise sweep of one of the fancied teams in the fold.

But miscues and poor Sta. Lucia receptions led to a cluster of Chery Tiggo points and the Crossovers won 11 of the last 15 points, including on a Philips’ attack error and a Manabat hit that ended a long rally and stopped the Lady Realtors’ sweep bid.

With Santiago and Paat recovering their rhythm, the Crossovers controlled the fourth and forced the decider on two Sta, Lucia errors. But after forcing a 2-all count in the fifth, the Lady Realtors found their second wind, averting what could’ve been a disastrous fold-up in the two-week old league organized by Sports Vision.

A Sabete block on Manabat coupled with the latter’s two attack errors gave Sta. Lucia a 7-3 cushion and when Chery Tiggo threatened within two thrice, the last at

7-9, the Lady Realtors scored the next two and kept the Crossovers at bay with key blocks aided by a couple of Chery Tiggo miscues.