PETRON middle blocker Ria Meneses showed her fighting spirit against bigger foe as she scored three blocks on Generika-Ayala import Katarina Pilepic in the Blaze Spikers' opening win, 25-13, 25-17, 25-19, in the Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix on Saturday at The Arena in San Juan.
The University of Santo Tomas stalwart rejected Pilepic, who was dubbed as the Croatian Hammer, to put Petron at, 18-15, followed by another block, 20-15, in the third set.
Meneses pushed the Blaze Spikers at match point with another solid rejection to put the exclamation mark on her impressive performance.
“Pare-parehas lang kaming malaki, game lang naman ‘to and nakapaglaro na rin ako last time dito so alam ko na kung paano maglaro ang mga imports. Angat sila sa amin pero syempre hindi naman kami magpapatalo,” said Meneses.
Although she came off the bench, replacing Remy Palma in the second set and playing all the way in the third set, Meneses doesn’t mind being a sub.
“Basta pag pinasok ako, 'yung part ko dapat kong gawin para sa team din naman namin ang gagawin ng bawat isa,” she said.
If everyone watching the game were stunned with her performance, Petron coach Shaq delos Santos was the least surprised.
The veteran mentor proudly shared that he’s expecting Meneses to deliver the goods.
“Honestly speaking, hindi ako nagulat kanina na ‘yun ang ginawa niya. Sa training namin in the past few weeks, ang level ni Riri nakikita ko na nag-step up na siya, so para sa akin hindi ako magtataka na maging ganoon siya,” said delos Santos of Meneses, who finished with five points.
“Kasi alam namin ang quality (ng laro niya), sa practice pa lang and sa tuneup and syempre ang dedication niya na matuto pa. Madami pa ‘yan ilalabas and nafi-feel na niya ang improvement niya,” he added.