Newcomer Iriga shows grit in stunning comeback over Sta. Lucia in PSL Grand Prix
Grethcel Soltones evades the wall with a powerful spike. Jerome Ascano

NEWCOMER Iriga City made its presence felt in the Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix after it survived Sta. Lucia, 15-25, 25-20, 22-25, 25-16, 15-13, on Tuesday at The Arena in San Juan.

Former Serbian national team member Tamara Kmezic, the tallest foreign player in the PSL at 6-foot-6, dropped 28 points, built on 26 attacks, for the Uragons.

Gretchel Soltones, who played for Foton in the Invitational Conference this year, added 15 points, six digs and eight excellent receptions for Iriga City and Japanese reinforcement Saam Miyagawa chipped in 10 in the match that took two hours and nine minutes to finish.

Iriga City coach Parley Tupaz was proud that the Uragons lived up to their moniker. 

“Eh ganoon talaga kasi kahit ikaw naman first-timer ka, ang tingin sa'yo mababa lang. Kung sa sundalo ikaw ang lowest mammal kasi nag-uumpisa ka pa lang naman,” he said.

The Uragons fought back from a 2-9 and 4-11 deficit in the fifth set before they scored 10 straight points to reach match point, 14-11, and bagged the win after an error from Sta. Lucia.

“Sabi ko sa kanila, ‘kung mahina ang loob niyo, talo na tayo, (dapat) tulong-tulong’” disclosed Tupaz.

Fil-Am Mar-Jana Phillips came with 26 points but they went all for naught after a late Sta. Lucia meltdown. 

Canada national team members Marisa Field had 15 markers and libero Kristen Moncks had 12 digs and 14 excellent receptions. 

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