Army Lady Troopers gain share of V-League lead with five-set squeaker over PLDT
Jovelyn Gonzaga and the Lady Troopers score their second win in as many matches. Dante Peralta

ARMY survived undermanned PLDT Home Ultera, 25-23, 23-25, 25-11, 19-25, 15-13, on Sunday to join idle University of the Philippines on top in the Shakey's V-League -Reinforced Conference at The Arena in San Juan City.

Honey Royse Tubino hammered in a crosscourt spike to give the Lady Troopers a 14-11 cushion in the fifth set then Jovelyn Gonzaga blasted in a kill on a well-placed set by Tina Salak to finish off the Ultra Fast Hitters, who threatened last at 13-14 on a Gretchel Soltones hit and an Army net violation.

It was a tough win for the star-studded Lady Troopers, who found their rivals a tough nut to crack despite the absence of ace spiker Alyssa Valdez, out with back pain following a stint with Ateneo in the UAAP beach volley tournament.

The win, completed in two hours and two minutes, bolstered the Lady Troopers semifinal drive as they matched the Lady Maroons’ 2-0 mark in the short single round eliminations.

“We made the necessary adjustment. We struggled with our reception that we couldn’t control the play even on a simple serve or hit,” said Salak, who outplayed ace counterpart Rubie de Leon with 45 excellent sets.

De Leon finished with 33 while keeping the Ultra Fast Hitters in the match with a big bounce back win in the fourth, setting the stage for the first fifth set match in the tournament.

Aby Maraño scored 18, Gonzaga and Tubino had 16 points apiece, while Nene Bautista chipped in 12 markers as the Lady Troopers beat their rivals, 65-56, in attack points.

Aiza Maizo-Pontillas scored 18 points and Janine Marciano had 12 for PLDT.

Soltones, Sue Roces and Rysabelle Devanadera had 11 markers each for the Ultra Fast Hitters, who slid to 1-1.

“They didn’t panic and showed composure in the fifth,” said Army coach Kungfu Reyes.

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