PETRON had to go through the eye of the needle before staying perfect in the Philippine Super Liga All-Filipino Conference by holding off Mane ‘N Tail, 25-27, 25-22, 25-16, 17-25, 16-14, on Saturday at the Astrodome.
Dindin Santiago-Manabat unloaded a season-high 30 points on 27 hits while Rachel Anne Daquis added 16 and Aby Marano chipped with 14 for last year’s Grand Prix champions, who extended their unbeaten run to five games.
Petron took two hours and 16 minutes to complete the win, the third straight game it was pushed to the limit. But coach George Pascua said the close games will be good for the Blaze Spikers in the long run.
“Mabuti na ‘yung napupunta kami sa ganoong situation. Mahirap na ‘yung lagi kaming lamang,” said Pascua.
The team was coming off a 23-25, 25-16, 25-13, 25-11 win over Cignal on Thursday and barely survived a 21-25, 20-25, 25-21, 25-16, 15-9 scare from Shopinas.com.
Pascua said he was glad to see the Blaze Spikers show signs of maturity.
“Lumalabas na ang maturity ng team,” he said.
Mane ‘N Tail sustained the momentum after taking the fourth set by leading, 5-3, early in the fifth set. But Petron immediately regained the driver’s seat, 9-5, behind a 6-0 run.
The Lady Stallions tried to remain within striking distance, but Santiago-Manabat, Daquis, and Marano took over to push the Blaze Spikers within match point, 14-11.
Jill Gustillo and rookie Samantha Dawson of Far Eastern University saved match points and tied the contest at 14-14, but Daquis scored on a power hit followed by a drop to finish the thrilling match.
Honey Tubino came away with 25 points for Mane ‘N Tail, while Abi Praca added 16 and Therese Veronas and Danika Gendrauli with 11 markers apiece.