IMPORTS Grace Lazard and Kendra Dahlke lifted PLDT Home Fibr from a meltdown escaping Cignal, 25-19, 25-18, 20-25, 20-25, 19-17, to earn the bronze medal in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix on Tuesday at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Power Hitters failed to wrap up the battle for third place in three sets as the HD Spikers, powered by Erica Wilson’s 33 points, fought their way back and forced a decider.
But thanks to Lazard and Dahlke, who came to the rescue delivering the killer blows in the fifth set to give PLDT its first podium since returning last year as Smart Giga Hitters before rebranding as Power Hitters this conference.
Dahlke led the way for PLDT with 27 points, while Lazard put up 17 kills, three blocks and two service aces for 22 points and delivered a backrow attack for the match point, 18-17, before nailing game-winning block on Ana Artemeva.
PLDT head coach Roger Gorayeb, who returned in the PSL last year’s All-Filipino, was proud of their bronze finish improving from a sixth place in their first conference.
“Natutuwa ako kasi hindi lang para sa kanila, para din sa kumpanya namin,” Gorayeb said. “Kasi bago kaming sali dito pangalawang conference namin coming from sixth place ngayon naman maganda standing namin nasa third place kami so maganda yun para sa mga bata.”
It also eased their pain after getting swept by F2 Logistics in the best-of-three semifinals last week.
“Ganun talaga siguro hindi pa para sa amin yung finals. Okay ako sa ganyang nila gustong gusto ko yan,” added Gorayeb.
The locals were also instrumental with Aiko Urdas chipping in 14 points, while Grethcel Soltones putting up an all-around game 12 points including 22 digs, and 13 excellent receptions. Setter Jasmine Nabor made 28 excellent sets on top of 16 digs.
Wilson lifted Cignal with 27 kills, four blocks and a pair of aces. Artemeva had 17 points. Paat tallied 11 markers, while Rachel Anne Daquis added nine hits including 15 digs and 10 excellent receptions.
The HD Spikers settled for fourth place, still a huge improvement from last year’s sixth place finish in the Grand Prix.