PETRON escaped a near-death situation on Tuesday, holding off a gritty Generika-Ayala side, 19-25, 25-22, 22-25, 25-17, 15-11, to advance to the semifinals of the Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix.
The Blaze Spikers overcame a shaky start before they regained composure late in the game, outduelling Generika-Ayala in a nip-and-tuck fifth set at The Arena in San Juan.
Petron led by only a point, 12-11, when American imports Hillary Hurley and Lindsay Stalzer came with their own 3-0 spurt to seal the win - and a place in the semifinals.
“Para kaming dumaan sa butas ng karayom. Sobra, sobra,” said Petron coach Shaq delos Santos. “Honestly speaking hindi talaga ‘yun ang laro namin. Nagpractice kami more on service and receive pero ‘di lumabas.”
“Pero good lesson sa amin kasi makakapag-isip kami for semis and hopefully mas maayos ang team namin (sa semis),” he added.
The Blaze Spikers will face the winner of the match between three-peat seeking Foton and Sta. Lucia.
Stalzer finished with 27 points and 11 excellent receptions, while Hurley added 21 markers, six digs and nine excellent receptions in a match that took two hours and 42 minutes to finish.
Mika Reyes also had 13 points for Petron, while Rhea Dimaculangan registered 27 of the team’s 37 excellent sets.
Darlene Ramdin of Trinidad and Tobago led Generika-Ayala with 35 points, built on 33 kills, while Croatian Katarina Pilepic chipped in 22.