KATHERINE Bell made a strong debut with Petron, leading all scorers in a 25-18, 23-25, 25-16, 25-23 victory that Cocolife put under protest in the first match of the best-of-three semifinals of the PSL Grand Prix on Tuesday at The Arena in San Juan.
Bell scored 29 points, while skipper Lindsay Stalzer finished with 23 markers and 15 excellent receptions for the Blaze Spikers.
They are one win away from the finals, but Petron coach Shaq delos Santos isn’t looking past Cocolife at this stage, noting it is practically the same situation as last year’s finals against F2 when they took the opener only to lose the series.
“Lesson learned sa amin ‘yung nangyari last year sa finals, ayaw namin maulit ‘yun so ipa-polish namin ang mga lapses namin sa game namin kanina,” said delos Santos.
Mika Reyes and Ces Molina combined for 17 points in the two-hour and six-minute match.
The second match is set on Thursday.
“‘Yung pagkatalo namin sa second set naging relax ang service namin and madami kaming easy balls and then passing namin, receive, as in kasi doon kami nagkulang,” Delos Santos pointed out.
“Kasi lahat ng players namin kaya mag-attack basta meron kaming magandang passing so ‘yun ang unang ipe-prepare namin bukas,” he added.
Serbian imports Marta Drpa and Sara Klisura scored 26 and 18 points, respectively, for Cocolife, who will come out with a statement on Wednesday after citing the officiating error as the basis of its protest.
Klisura was also impressive in defense with 17 digs and 17 excellent receptions.