SHINAKO Tanaka carried Petron with a tournament-high 36 points as the Blaze Spikers ended the conference on a high note by edging RC Cola, 25-13, 20-25, 22-25, 25-22, 15-11, in the Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix at Ynares Sports Arena on Wednesday.
Petron’s Japanese reinforcement scored on 27 spikes, two blocks, and seven service aces, breaking the 27 points set by Cignal import Li Zhangzhan on Saturday against PLDT MyDSL.
Tanaka scored seven of Petron’s total points in the fifth set.
"Alam ko naman na effective siya lagi sa fifth set," said Petron coach Vilet Ponce de Leon, referring to Tanaka.
Down by two in the decider, 2-4, the Blaze Spikers came up with a 5-0 spurt from Tanaka and Micmic Laborte to snatch the lead, 7-4.
The Raiders answered with a 6-3 mini run to tie it at 10, but Petron regained control as Tanaka scored four straight points to put the match away.
Stephanie Mercado finished with 11 markers for Petron, which ended the conference with a 2-5 record.
"'Yung preparation namin short lang 'di gaanong nakapag jell 'yung team," said Ponce de Leon.
From their third place finish last conference, the Blaze Spikers dropped to fifth spot this year.
"Kasi iba-iba ang players ngayon, may mga galing sa La Salle, Ateneo, UP, UST, so mahirap ilagay sila lahat together, it will take time to jell."
"Nabuo kami two weeks before magstart 'yung conference, 'yung imports namin dumating one week before (the conference)," she added.
Minghua Zhang poured in 24 points for RC Cola, while Sontaya Kaewbundit added 15 for the Raiders, which ended the conference without a win.