Petron zooms to first ever PSL crown

Petron overpowers Generika to claim PSL Grand Prix title
Petron Blaze Spikers carved their name in Philippine Superliga history winning the 2014 Grand Prix title against Generika Life Savers Sunday night.
MANILA --- Petron Blaze Spikers coach George Pascua was at a loss on how to describe the decision of Generika Life Savers’ mentor Ramil De Jesus to withdraw his two imports in the fourth set of their 2014 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix Final late Sunday night. A gesture of throwing in the towel would suffice but Pascua thinks otherwise. “Ewan ko kung tama yung gagamitin kong term parang suicide decision na,” said Pascua. “Nandoon yung dalawang imports ko and nasa harap pa yung isa. Sabi ko eto na sa atin na ito.” Nothing much that De Jesus could possibly do during that fourth frame drubbing where Generika got buried in a 12-point hole before succumbing to a powerful Petron side, 25-21, 21-25, 25-15, 25-9 in a match witnessed by 5,900 spectators in Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City. Asked why he didn’t follow suit pulling his imports out with the game virtually decided, Pascua flashed a sheepish grin saying: “It’s a championship game, I can’t afford to gamble.” Head-turner American reinforcement and Conference Most Valuable Player Alaina Bergsma scattered 24 points including 21 kills to pace the Blaze Spikers, the second team to be crowned champions in the league after three-time winner Philippine Army skipped the season-ending conference. “I thought it would be a better game,” said the 6-foot-3 former Miss Oregon winner and USA national team mainstay Bergsma. “But for us this is our goal (winning the championship). “When we started the season we wanted to win the championship and just be able to get that done. I know it's every team's goal going in to the season but I really felt that our team had the advantage going in to this game.” Former National U ace spiker and Best Middle Blocker winner DinDin Santiago added 14 points, Frances Molina scored 12 while Brazilian playmaker and named the conference’s Best Setter Erica Adachi finished with 44 of Petron’s 49 excellent sets to go with her five markers. After splitting the first two sets, the Life Savers went ahead, 14-10, in the third taking advantage of Petron’s miscues and slow start after a draining second frame where Pascua received a yellow card for continuous complaining to the referees. But Generika was hit by a dry spell and the Blaze Spikers capitalized, clawing back from the deficit to seal a 2-1 match advantage using a 15-1 fight back. Rattled by the sudden change of momentum, the Life Savers totally collapsed in the fourth set falling behind 5-17 with De Jesus deciding to call it a night for his Russian reinforcement Natalia Kurobkova and Japanese setter Miyu Shinohara. Without significant opposition and with total control of the game, Petron easily inched closer to the title with late substitute Fille Cainglet-Cayetano icing the cake for the Blaze Spikers with an off speed attack for her only point in the game to end the match that lasted an hour and 15 minutes. Korubkova, winner of the Best Opposite Spiker citation, finished with 15 points, while Best Middle Blocker awardee Abigail Marano and Stephanie Mercado contributed for Generika 11 and 10 points, respectively. Meanwhile, RC Cola-Air Force salvaged a bronze medal finish against Cignal HD Lady Spikers, 26-24, 23-25, 25-20, 26-24. Foton Tornadoes finished fifth with 25-23, 18-25, 17-25, 25-12, 15-12 victory over Mane 'N Tail Lady Stallions. Other individual award winners are American reinforcements Lindsay Stalzer of Cignal (Best Outside Spiker), Emily Brown of RC Cola (Best Outside Spiker) and Jen Reyes of Petron (Best Libero).

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