THAI einforcement Wanida Kotruang carried Cagayan Valley past Petron in straight sets, 25-20, 25-14, 25-22, in the opener of the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix on Sunday at The Arena in San Juan.
Kotruang came away with 12 points, newly-acquired players Aiza Maizo-Fontillas and Pau Soriano matched Sandra delos Santos' 11 points for the Lady Rising Suns, who have now won 17 successive games counting their historic sweep of the last Shakey's V-League Season 10 Open Conference.
The 23-year-old Kotruang, who played for Smart in the last V-League tournament, stepped up in the absence of Cagayan Valley skipper Angge Tabaquero, who’s currently recovering from surgery.
“Sa last tournament nakita ko na ang skill niya,” said Cagayan coach Nes Pamilar, referring to the Thai spiker.
“Kaya noong nag-suspetsa ako na hindi ko na makukuha 'yung mga guest players ko talaga, ang sabi ko kung kukuha ako ng bago (na guest player) ganyan sa kanya ang kukunin ko.”
The Lady Rising Suns appeared ready to seal the deal when they led, 17-8 in the third set, but the Blaze Spikers put up one final fight and closed to within 22-23 after three straight turnovers by Cagayan.
But Cagayan capitalized on Dzi Gervacio's attacking error, before Delos Santos scored on a drop ball to clinch the one-sided win.
“Iba na 'yung naka-una ka na,” said Pamilar. "Pero ang lagi kong instructions sa kanila (players) 'wag muna titingin sa dulo. One game at a time lang.”
Gervacio led the Blaze Spikers with nine points.
Petron lost the battle at the net after coming through with only six blocks against the nine of Cagayan, who also had eight service aces.