BACOOR CITY — Even with a depleted roster, Smart continued to roll as it swept skidding Foton in three sets, 25-21, 25-19, 25-18, to earn its first back-to-back wins in the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference on Thursday at the Bacoor Strike Gym.
Playing without setter Jasmine Nabor and middle blockers Celine Domingo and Czarina Carandang due to their important academic activities, the Giga Hitters banked on skipper Aiko Urdas, Grethcel Soltones and Jerrili Malabanan to torch the Tornadoes in just 71 minutes.
Urdas dropped 18 points built on 16 kills and a pair of service aces to help Smart in earning its second win in Pool B and climbed at tied fifth place with Cignal having identical 4-5 win-loss records.
Soltones, who only had five points in their past win against Sta. Lucia last Tuesday, redeemed herself with 13 hits including excellent receptions, while Malabanan delivered 12 markers and had 10 digs. Angel Cayuna filled in the big shoes of Nabor making 40 excellent sets on top of four markers.
Smart head coach Roger Gorayeb believed that this is their best game in the conference so far even they played undermanned.
“Siguro kung kukunin mo lahat ng skills, ito na 'yung best. 'Yung teamwork, depensa, pati galaw nila maganda,” Gorayeb said. “Medyo iba 'yung kilos ng Foton. Sabi ko nga sa mga bata, samantalahin natin. Meron tayong opporturnity, i-grab na natin. 'Wag na natin pahirapan ang sarili natin.”
And he hopes to sustain it in their last preliminary game in Pool A against unbeaten Petron (9-0) on Saturday, 4 p.m., at the Caloocan Sports Complex before they head to the knockout quarterfinals.
“Kailangan talaga namin manalo. Dapat nga noon pa kami naglalaro ng ganyan kasi ayaw ko naman na na nandoon kami sa ilalim. Kahit papaano, meron din namang na-achieve 'yung mga bata. Sana maging start na 'to,” Gorayeb added.
Mina Aganon and Carla Sandoval had 12 and 10 points for Foton, respectively. But the Tornadoes lost their third straight game sliding to fourth place with a 5-4 slate and will try to end their woes in their last Pool A match against Sta. Lucia (0-9), 4 p.m., at the Batangas City Coliseum.