BATANGAS CITY — BanKo avoided a meltdown before outlasting the upset-conscious Tacloban in five sets. 25-22, 25-19, 29-31, 11-25, 15-11, to clinch at least the second seed heading into the semifinal round of the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference on Saturday at the Batangas City Coliseum here.
Assured at least the top two seeds in the semifinals starting on Wednesday, the Perlas Spikers flirted with disaster squandering a two-set lead before edging the gritty Fighting Warays in one hour and 57 minutes.
With both teams playing neck-and-neck in the fifth set tied at 8, Nicole Tiamzon provided the clutch hits for BanKo to pull away with a 13-9 breather before she nailed the game-winning spike.
Substitute players Sasa Devanadera and Roma Doromal made the most out of their extended minutes leading the way for the Perlas Spikers with 17 and 15 points, respectively. Tiamzon delivered 14 hits, while Amanda Villanueva added 11 markers and a tremendous effort of 21 digs and 12 excellent receptions.
BanKo finished the elimination round with an 11-3 win-loss record assured to land at least at the second spot but could rise at top place if Creamline (10-3) would lose its ongoing match against the winless Adamson-Akari (0-13).
The Perlas Spikers will face third seeded Ateneo-Motolite (10-4) if they land at second place but if they reach the top place, they take on Petro Gazz (8-6).
But for BanKo coach Dong Dela Cruz, they are ready to face whoever their opponents will be in the best-of-three semifinals series starting on Wednesday.
“Siguro ang ano naman ng mga player kahit sino kalaban kasi mahirap yung namimili. Kahit sino, kahit Petro Gazz o Ateneo,” Dela Cruz said.
Even they blew a 2-0 set lead in their last elimination game, Dela Cruz is not worried of his wards because he decided to rest his middle blockers Kathy Bersola, Joy Dacoron and Amy Ahomiro as well as spiker Sue Roces and setter Jem Ferrer, while Dzi Gervacio only played in the third and fourth sets with eight points.
“Nagcollapse kami ng third set pinapahinga ko kasi yung mga gitna ko for the semifinals,” he said. “First two sets maganda, yung third set medyo nagrelax bumigay hanggang sa makuha rin nila yung fourth set malakas naman yung Tacloban din talaga gusto rin manalo ng last game nila.”
Jovie Prado did everything for Tacloban with 20 points including 20 digs and 13 excellent receptions. Heather Guino-o had 16 hits, while Shola Alvarez and Andrea Marzan added 11 and 10 markers, respectively.
Tacloban finished at sixth place with a 6-8 record.