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    Petron downs Cagayan to salvage third place

    Jul 28, 2013
    Petron's Aiza Maizo scores against Cagayan Joy Cases and Liza De Ramos. Dante Peralta

    PETRON ended the season on a high after a heartbreaking loss, salvaging third place in the Philippine Super Liga with a 25-18, 22-25, 26-24, 25-16 win over Cagayan Valley on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

    The Blaze Spikers were raring to get back after losing to Cignal in straight sets in the semifinals and came out big, taking one hour and 35 minutes to turn back Cagayan Valley.

    "Ang mindset kasi namin kailangan namin bumawi sa previous game namin," said Petron coach Vilet Ponce de Leon. "Inisip namin although third place it's still a win and we end the season with a win."

    Petron ended the conference with a 5-3 win-loss card.

    Former University of Santo Tomas star Maika Ortiz led the Blaze Spikers with 20 points from an all around game of 15 attacks, four blocks and one service ace. Her former teammates at UST Angge Tabaquero and Aiza Maizo added 16 and 11, respectively, while former Ateneo star Fille Cainglet had 10.

    "Masaya kasi dito sa ligang ito kasi kahit magkakalaban noong college naging teammates, na-harness ang team work at may nabuo na magandang relationship kahit college rivals," said Cainglet.

    Petron took charge in the third set with a 13-4 rally behind Cainglet, Maizo, Ortiz and Rhea Dimaculangan after trailing by as many as six, 4-10, early in the set.

    The Lady Rising Suns managed to tie the game at 24 but the Blaze Spikers poured in three straight points to lead by two sets to one.

    Petron was in full control in the fourth with a 12-6 run to put up a comfortable 19-13 lead, pulling away from a close 8-7 game at the first technical time out.

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    Joy Benito stopped Cagayan Valley's bleeding but Petron stepped on the gas and scored six straight points while the Lady Rising Suns only had two, with one coming from Charo Soriano's service miscue.

    "Doon sa mga crucial na plays doon lalabas ang team work, doon sa team work na lang ako kumapit," said Ponce de Leon.

    "Ang mindset kasi namin sa fourth set lesson learned 'di na namin pwede pa-abantehin ang kalaban, 'di na sila pwede lumamang," she added.

    Ponce de Leon also credited Soriano's dedication to the team as the former Ateneo star cut short her vacation in Bali, Indonesia to play in the battle for third match.

    Joy Cases produced 18 for Cagayan Valley, while Liza de Ramos added 10. The Lady Rising Suns had a 4-4 win-loss record in the conference.

    Meanwhile, PLDT MyDSL bagged the fifth place award behind League Best Scorer Pau Soriano.

    Soriano's 24-point production lifted the Speed Boosters to a thrilling 25-18, 26-24, 21-25, 21-25, 20-18, against PCSO Bingo Milyonaryo earlier on Sunday.

    Rosemarie Vargas, Charmaine Moralde and Angela Benting added 19, 14 and 10 points, respectively, for PLDT MyDSL.

    Mic-Mic Laborte finished with 22 points, from 15 spikes and seven blocks, while Maica Morada and Michelle Gumabao had 14 apiece and Maureen Penetrante contributed 10 for PCSO Bingo Milyonaryo. 

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    Petron's Aiza Maizo scores against Cagayan Joy Cases and Liza De Ramos. Dante Peralta
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