Petron survives scare, advances to semis

Petron survives scare, advances to semis
American import Lindsay Stalzer dropped 27 points in a five-set win over Generika-Ayala to claim a spot in the Final Four.

Petron survived a scare put up by an upset-conscious Generika-Ayala side, coming back from a set down to eke out a 19-25, 25-22, 22-25, 25-17, 15-11, win Tuesday in the knockout quarterfinals of the 2017 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.   

The Blazer Spikers needed a huge explosion from American import Lindsay Stalzer in the closing stretch of the fifth frame including the last two points of the match to clinch a semifinals spot against the winner between back-to-back defending champion Foton and Sta. Lucia Realty.

Stalzer broke a 9-9 deadlock with consecutive hits followed by a huge block by Mika Reyes on Lifesaver’s Croatian import Katarina Pilepic for a 12-9 lead.

Generika-Ayala made a final push as Pilepic scored on block against Stalzer following a net touch violation by Petron to close the gap, 12-11.

But Blaze Spikers American reinforcement Hillary Hurley doused cold water on the Lifesavers fightback with an attack from the backrow that went off the hands of Angelica Legacion. Stalzer took matters on her own hands, scoring a monster block kill on Pilepic before sealing the victory with an off the block hit.        

“Para kaming dumaan sa butas ng karayom. Sobra,” said Petron coach Shaq delos Santos as he breathed a sigh of relief after dodging an upset in game where his wards gave away 31 points off errors. “Honestly speaking hindi talaga yun ang laro namin.” 

Stalzer pounded 24 kills and had three kill blocks for 27 points while Hurley had 18 attacks in her 21-point output for the Blaze Spikers. Mika Reyes had 13 markers while Ces Molina and Ria Meneses combined for 17 points for Petron in the two-hour, 42-minute encounter.  

Generika-Ayala erased a 2-5 deficit in the fifth set with five straight points to take a 7-5 lead. Petron answered with a run of their own to take the helm, 9-8, only to see Pilepic knot the frame at 9.

Darlene Ramdin of Trinidad and Tobago hammered 33 attacks with a couple of blocks for game-high 33 points in a lost cause for Generika-Ayala. Pilepic scored 22 while Acy Masangkay and Gen Casugod combined for eight for the Lifesavers, who closed the preliminary round with a 3-5 card.

 

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