PHILIPPINE Army completed a come-from-behind win over Smart, 25-21, 18-25, 12-25, 25-23, 15-10, behind the heroics of Mary Jean Balse to force a rubber match for a berth in the Shakey’s V-League Season 10 Open Conference Finals.
Balse, the former University of Santo Tomas star came away with 12 points, from nine spikes and three blocks in steering the Lady Troopers to the Game 2 win Friday night at The Arena in San Juan and levelled the best-of-three series at 1-1.
The decisive Game 3 will be played on Sunday also at The Arena.
Balse clinched the hard-earned victory for the Lady Troopers by scoring the final three points in the deciding set, anchored on a block and back-to-back attacks.
Army won the opening set but lost the next two to trail Smart.
But when it appeared the Lady Troopers were on the verge of elimination after falling behind, 17-23 in the fourth, they willed themselves back and outscored the Net Spikers 8-0, to win the set (25-23), and forge a deciding game.
“Kanina nawala na naman 'yung receive at block namin kaya nagka-ganoon," said Army coach Rico de Guzman after the Lady Troopers found themselves trailing 1-2 after the third set.
“Ang kailangan kasi 'wag silang susuko, dapat aggressive.”
Skipper Joanne Bunag added 10 points for Army.
Alyssa Valdez finished with 20 points to pace Smart, while Thai reinforcements Lithawat Kesinee and Wanida Kotruang added 19 and 17, respectively.
Gretchel Soltones also finished in double figures for the Net Spikers with 13.