PacificTown Army head coach Kungfu Reyes has been looking for the perfect time to field in Jem Gutierrez.
On Sunday, Reyes finally got a chance to give the University of Sto. Tomas hitter minutes on the floor and Gutierrez delivered in crunch time as the Lady Troopers eked out a five-set win over the BanKo Perlas Spikers in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Reinforced Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
“Nakatadhana na mag-fifth set kami ngayon para mabunot ko si Jem,” said Reyes following the Lady Troopers’ 25-22, 23-25, 27-29, 25-20, 15-7, win to end the first round on a high note.
Gutierrez was came into the game midway in the fourth set with the Lady Troopers trailing by a set. The seldom-used player immediately made an impact, scoring four of PacificTown Army’s closing nine points that broke a 16-16 deadlock to force a decider.
“Inisip ko lang na basta umangat ang bola kailangan ko lang paluin,” said Gutierrez, who scored seven points in just two sets of action.
While waiting for her number to be called, Gutierrez got a good look at the Perlas Spikers’ defensive pattern.
She exploited that opening on BanKo’s net defense once inside the court.
“Napansin ko kasi sa game na dapat i-down the line kaya ng palo ko dina-down the line ko. Yun ang nakita ko na naba-block and cross and maliit yung blocker sa down,” she said.
“Nu’ng ako na ang ipinasok, nag-mindset na ko na basta na-set sa akin down the line kasi doon yung porsyento,” added Gutierrez, who helped Sisi Rondina win the UAAP Season 79 beach volleyball title for UST.
Gutierrez pushed the Lady Troopers lead in the fifth set to 11-3 with back-to-back hits. She then gave PacificTown Army a 13-7 lead before veteran Nene Bautista sealed the win with back-to-back aces.
“Actually siya na ‘yung game-changer ngayon, si Jem. Almost one hundred percent ng atake patay tapos yung attempt makukuha. So para sa’yo tong araw na to,” said Reyes of Gutierrez.
The win put the Lady Troopers at the middle of the standings in the 6-team field with a 3-2 win-loss record.
“Naisip ko rin na must-win ang game na ito, kasi kailangan naming manalo para sa standings mataas kami,” said Gutierrez.
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