Petron, Army A set semis showdown in PSL Challenge Cup

ABS-CBN Sports on May 22, 2016 07:04 PM
Petron, Army A set semis showdown in PSL Challenge Cup
Aiza Maizo-Pontillas of Petron XCS eludes the defense of F2 Logistics' Aby Marano (red).

Petron XCS dug deep into its well of experience to pull off a 21-17, 21-16 victory over F2 Logistics in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Philippine Superliga (PSL) Challenge Cup beach volleyball tournament Sunday at the SM By the Bay in Mall of Asia.

Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and Bang Pineda displayed their spectacular form right from the opening serve to frustrate Aby Marano and Danika Gendrauli and coast to the semifinals.

A veteran of the 2011 Southeast Asian Games, Pontillas was impressive early on as she delivered well-placed drop shots coupled with some defensive gem on the net en route to an easy first set victory.

Then, she stormed back in the second set as she turned a slim 8-7 lead into a 12-8 advantage using three consecutive service aces off Marano, who struggled defensively on her first major beach volley competition.

“We challenged the defense of Aby knowing that she’s not yet used to play on the sand,” said Pontillas, who led University of Santo Tomas to some glorious runs in the UAAP.

Pineda strongly agreed, saying that they prepared hard after absorbing a 9-21, 8-21 setback to Foton in group stage last week.

“Both of them are really good. But we had to target Aby because we know that Danika is more experienced being the former champion. We practiced hard and prepared for them because we know that they are a very good team.”

But the celebration will not last long as Petron XCS will clash with Jovelyn Gonzaga and Nene Bautista of RC Cola-Army A in the semis following a 21-14, 21-12 win over Maica Morada and Frances Molina of Petron Sprint 4T in the other quarterfinal pairing.

“We will work hard to win the title,” said Gonzaga, anticipating an all-out war against Pontillas who used to be her partner in the SEA Games in Palembang, Indonesia.

In other quarters results, Foton's Cherry Rondina and Patty Orendain bested Ginie Sabas and Jenny Delos Reyes of RC Cola-Army B, 21-8, 21-14, for a Final Four showdown with FEU-Petron.

The duo of Bernadeth Pons and Kylie Atienza downed the Standard Insurance Navy A pair of Pau Soriano and Norie Jane Diaz in a thrilling 13-21, 22-10, 15-10 decision. 

In the men’s side, Philippine Navy B prevailed over UE Manila, 21-13, 21-18; FEU B dominated SM By the Bay, 21-9, 21-18; TVM emerged victorious over Cignal Team Awesome, 22-24, 21-14, 15-8; FEU A crushed IEM, 21-17, 21-10; Philippine Navy A smothered SM By the Bay, 21-9, 21-9.

Also emerging victorious were Wayuk, which defeated UE Manila, 21-12, 21-14; Philippine Navy B which breezed past FEU A, 21-18, 21-10; and Philippine Navy A, which escaped a gritty TVM side, 16-21, 21-17, 18-16.

Semifinals and finals are set next Sunday.

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