SISI Rondina sparked Petron in erasing a two-set deficit to turn back Cignal in five sets, 17-25, 21-25, 25-11, 25-17, 15-10, in the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference on Tuesday at the Arena in San Juan City.
After missing last Tuesday’s three-set win over Generika-Ayala due to a South Korea trip with University of Santo Tomas Tigresses as reward for making it to the UAAP Season 81 Finals, Rondina returned with 26 points off 23 spikes, two blocks and an ace including 22 digs still coming off the bench.
As the Blaze Spikers stepped on the gas late in the fifth set with a 13-9 breather from Ces Molina’s kill and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas’s block on Mylene Paat, the UAAP MVP completed the comeback nailing an off-speed and an off-the-block attack that kept Petron at second place with an 8-1 win-loss record.
“First two sets siyempre hindi okay para sa aking lahat pero yung bounce back na ginawa ng team nagkaroon ng kasagutan yung problema namin at lungkot nung first two sets,” said Petron head coach Shaq Delos Santos.
“Sabi ko nga sa kanila nung first two sets, ‘team grabe yung eagerness nila na talunin tayo. Wag natin hayaan, dapat maging mas eager tayo na talunin sila.’ Good thing nagkaroon kami ng chance makarecover,” he added.
Remy Palma also delivered for Petron with in 12 points, while Bernadeth Pons put up 10 markers and 22 digs. Mika Reyes added nine hits, while setter Rhea Dimaculangan dished out 28 excellent sets on top of four points.
Delos Santos was not surprise that the Blaze Spikers needed to earn their win the hard way against the HD Spikers, who also forced a fifth-setter in their first-round collision.
“Malakas ang team ng Cignal sa totoo lang. Malaki, matatangkad, skilled at kahit sino ipasok doon lahat quality,” Delos Santos said. “Ang laki ng setter, magaling yung libero so possible yun. Ako ineexpect ko na talagang mahihirapan kami jan.”
Paat and Jovelyn Gonzaga lifted the HD Spikers with 17 points each, while Rachel Anne Daquis had 12 points. Setter Alohi Robins Hardy put up 23 excellent sets and nine points, while libero Jheck Dionela had 30 digs and 23 excellent receptions
Cignal, however, failed to close out its two-set lead and end the two-year losing drought to Petron dropping to 3-5 card.