CAGAYAN DE ORO — Jerrili Malabanan and Grethcel Soltones combined for 42 points to lift PLDT Home Fibr in stunning F2 Logistics in five sets, 25-21, 26-28, 15-25, 25-19, 15-11, and overcoming one-hour delay due to aircondition malfunction in the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference on Saturday before a jampacked crowd at the Corpus Christi Gym here.
Down 1-2 in the match as the Cargo Movers dominated them in the resumption of the third set, the duo of Malabanan and Soltones kept the Power Hitters afloat until they forced a decider, where both squads fought toe-to-toe.
Tied at nine in the fifth set, Malabanan delivered three of the team’s four straight points to reach match point, 14-10, before Kalei Mau saved a point. But Soltones soared to close out the match and sent F2 Logistics to its second straight defeat.
Malabanan and Soltones both finished with 21 points apiece with the San Sebastian standout also putting up 24 digs and 19 excellent receptions in the match that lasted three hours and 31 minutes.
PLDT finished the preliminary with a 6-9 win-loss card, locked in at No.6.
“Lahat sila tuwang-tuwa ako sa laro nilang lahat. Si Jerrili lalo na nung dulo,” said PLDT head coach Roger Gorayeb. “Masaya ako para sa team namin pwede naman pala e. Bakit ngayon na lang diba, sana noon pa. Pero sige meron pa namang chance e.”
“Natutuwa naman ako papunta ako sa crossover ng maganda laro namin,” added Gorayeb, whose team will take on will be facing the third placer either Generika-Ayala (8-6), Foton (7-5) or Cignal (7-6) in the knockout quarterfinals.
The veteran coach also drew a great game from setter Jasmine Nabor, who had 31 excellent sets on top of six points, as well as Aiko Urdas adding 10 markers and Alyssa Eroa protecting the floor with 23 digs and 13 excellent receptions.
The officials decided to temporarily stopped the match when F2 Logistics held an 8-7 lead in the third frame with both squads returning to their respective locker rooms.
It took an hour for the venue to reached a cool temperature before the referees resumed the game with the Cargo Movers blazing hot dominating the third set for a 2-1 match advantage before the Power Hitters fought their way back.
Mau erupted with 28 points including 19 digs and 10 excellent receptions. Ara Galang and Majoy Baron had 19 and 18 points, respectively. Aby Marano added 12 markers, while Kim Fajardo returned to action from a fractured finger last Conference with 15 excellent sets.
F2 Logistics gave up 30 errors sliding at No. 2 with an 11-2 card following another fifth set loss to Petron last Thursday.