NEW-look Petron made an impressive debut as it turned down Generika-Ayala, 25-22, 25-22, 25-21, to open its ‘three-peat’ bid in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix on rousing note on Saturday at the Arena in San Juan City.
Despite losing their key players in the off season, the Blaze Spikers proved that their revamped roster under new coach Emil Lontoc could continue the winning tradition of the franchise after taking down the Lifesavers in 78 minutes.
Returning import Kath Bell embarked the new era of Petron on a winning note as she nailed 17 points, all coming from attacks.
Holdover Remy Palma was the outstanding local player with 11 points. Newcomer Lut Malaluan had six markers providing three of the team’s six kill blocks, while mainstays Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and Ces Molina added five points each.
“Satisfied na rin. Inspite na yung mga critics sa amin na marami kaming nawala,” said Lontoc in the post-game. “Ako yung coach na positive thinker na nagtitiwala sa players na kaya nila magawa yung mga pwede namin ipagawa.”
“Kita naman naging effective yung game plan namin sa kanila kasi napanood ko yung team na yan e. Close fight talaga pero more on dapat pa namin iimprove yung aming blockings,” the 70-year-old coach added.
Rhea Dimaculangan, who left Petron including several players like Mika Reyes, Sisi Rondina, Bernadeth Pons and Denden Lazaro, anchored Generika-Ayala’s offense to force a close fight against her former team in each set.
But Bell and the Blaze Spikers’ clutch hits and blockings denied their ex-setter and Generika from taking a single set.
Cuban Elizabeth Vicet Campos led the Lifesavers with 15 points. Mina Aganon, and Ria Meneses had eight and seven markers, respectively.