Petron turns back New San Jose, completes 2nd round sweep

BATANGAS CITY — Formidable Petron romped past fading New San Jose Builders on Saturday afternoon 25-20, 25-16, 25-8 and completed a second-round sweep of the 2016 PLDT Home Ultera Philippine Superliga Invitational Conference women’s volleyball tournament at the Batangas City Sports Center here.

After a slow start, the Tri-Activ Spikers shifted to high gear behind their relentless offensive attack and solid floor defense as they stymied the Victorias no end, leading to their third straight victory in the inter-club tourney bankrolled by Asics, Mikasa, Senoh, Mueller and Grand Sport with TV5 as official broadcast partner.

“(We’re off to a) good start,” beamed Petron coach George Pascua. “Sana hanggang huli ma-sustain namin.”

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Veteran Aiza Maizo-Pontillas led all scorers with 12 points, 11 of them off kills, Carmina Aganon and Maica Morada combined for 17 markers as Petron matched the three-game sweep achieved by powerhouse RC Cola-Army in the opening round, setting the stage for their much-anticipated showdown in Round 3 that gets going next week.

“Ang Army intact na team ‘yan. Hindi pwedeng magpabaya dyan. Kung ano ang nagawa namin doon sa unang tatlong games namin, itataas pa namin ang intensity. Hindi ka pwedeng mag-relaks sa Army, powerhouse ‘yan,” stressed Pascua.

Maribeth Lara tallied a team-high six points, five off them hits, for the Victorias, who failed to secure any win in their six matches but still gave the Tri-Activ Spikers all they could handle in the early goings.

New San Jose Builders, built around the core of perennial NCAA contender Perpetual Help, proved to be a tough nut to crack in the opening set as Maria Lourdes Clemente and Coleen Bravo anchored their net defense, enabling them to repeatedly lead by as many as three, the last at 19-16.

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However, the Victorias started to crumble in the face of the Tri-Activ Spikers’ rejuvenated attack, with Aganon, Morada, Maizo and CJ Rosario taking turns in a blinding nine-to-one closeout.

That meltdown proved to be costly for the Victorias as the Tri-Activ Spikers continued to pour it on in the second frame, highlighted by another decisive 14-6 windup, before asserting their full might in the final frame.

“Na-intimidate lang sila nu’ng third set,” noted Pascua, aware they were given by Victorias an early scare until her veteran wards buckled down to work. “Kaya naman nila kung gugustuhin nila. ‘Yung mga batang players kapag pinabayaan mo, lalaban ‘yung mga yan. Kapag nakita naman nila na dominated sila, wala masyadong nakakakasa.” – Jerome Lagunzad

Follow this writer on Twitter: @JLFoxSports

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