PLDT one win away from another bronze after surviving huge scare from winless Meralco
San Sebastian standout Gretchel Soltones, playing for PLDT Home Telpad, leads all scorers with 23 points. Dante Peralta

PLDT survived a huge scare from winless Meralco, pulling off a 25-21, 21-25, 20-25, 25-20, 15-11 victory on Tuesday to close in on third place in the Shakey’s V-League Reinforced Conference at The Arena in San Juan.

Meralco, which failed to score a victory in six elimination-round matches, came up with some fine plays to take the second and third sets.

But PLDT regained its composure in the fourth and held off Meralco in the fifth to complete the win in one hour and 57 minutes.

Up by just one in the fifth, 12-11, PLDT scored the last three points capped by a service ace by Angela Benting to take the lead in the best-of-three series.

Gretchel Soltones came up with 23 points, while team captain Sue Roces delivered 21 for the Turbo Boosters.

“Hirap na hirap kami manalo,” said PLDT coach Roger Gorayeb, again stressing that they are playing with no foreign reinforcement and that they rarely practice with a full squad since most of them have regular jobs.

“Mabuti na lang nanalo kami,” he said with relief. “Kahit wala kaming import lahat ng bata nagse-step up lalo na si Angela. Malaking factor siya sa game.”

Benting had seven points off the bench for PLDT.

Gorayeb and the Turbo Boosters look to post back-to-back third place finishes in the league when the series resumes on Thursday.

“Sabi ko nga sa mga players ko, kung ganito nga na kakapirasong training lang tayo at nananalo naman, what more pa kung kumpletong ensayo natin," said the veteran mentor.

Aby Marano had 20 points for Meralco, while Thai import Wanida Kotruang had 18, Paneng Mercado scored 14 and skipper Maureen Penetrante-Ouano added 10.

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