DEFENDING champion Petron made short work of a listless Meralco, 27-25, 25-20, 25-21, to become the first team to secure a semifinal berth in the Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix at The Arena in San Juan on Thursday.
Brazilian reinforcement Rupia Inck led the way with 17 points while Dindin Santiago-Manabat added 12 as the Blaze Spikers completed its rise from a slow start to claim solo top spot with a 6-2 (win-loss) record.
Petron coach George Pascua, however, warned the team against lowering its guard.
“Although pasok na kami sa semis, magsa-strive pa rin kami para manalo pa sa remaining games,” said the veteran mentor. “Sinasabi ko sa kanila, mahina o malakas ang kalaban kailangan pang-championship ang game namin.”
Pascua said the turning point of the match came in the first set, when the Blaze Spikers overcame a 23-19 deficit.
“Possible ‘yun ang (turning point) pero ‘yung mga ganoong situation kasi ina-apply namin sa practice ‘yun,” said Pascua. “Sa training ‘yung mga crucial points ineensayo namin.”
American import Christina Alessi made 11 points for Meralco, which, after losing its sixth straight game, will need to sweep its remaining four games to have a chance at a semifinal appearance.