THE Big Three of Jovelyn Gonzaga, Dindin Santiago-Manabat, and veteran setter Tina Salak spelled the difference in Philippine Army’s huge win over PLDT Home Ultera in the opener of their Shakey’s V-League Season 12 Open Conference Finals at The Arena in San Juan.
PLDT coach Roger Gorayeb was quick to give credit to the trio, pointing out the offensive assault of the Army duo and the smart plays of Salak were the biggest factors as the Lady Troopers snapped the 10-game winning run of the Ultera Fast Hitters.
Gonzaga had 16 points to go with seven digs, while Santiago-Manabat also had 16.
“Dalawang tao lang ang pumatay talaga sa amin, si Jovelyn at si Dindin,” said Gorayeb. “’Yung mga running ni Dindin hindi namin na-check, eh nache-check naman namin noong mga nakaraan. Gusto talaga nila manalo.”
The ageless Salak, part of the team that last competed in the Southeast Asian Games which won the bronze in 2005, registered 32 of the team’s 33 excellent sets to go with timely drop shots for a total of six points.
“Kahit ‘di maganda ang receive ng Army, si Tina talaga ang nagdala. Dinala ni Tina ang Army,” said the veteran mentor.
Statistics showed the Lady Troopers had more excellent receptions (32-23), but Gorayeb said otherwise.
“‘Yung receive namin super ang ganda, napakaganda ng receive namin mula umpisa,” he said. “Ang ganda ng receive namin pero walang finesse ang mga attacks namin.”
The two teams meet each other again in Game Two Sunday with the Lady Troopers going for the title.