Petron tops Cignal to grab early lead; F2 sweeps Cocolife
Petron rises to a 2-0 slate to take an early lead in the Grand Prix.
STA. ROSA CITY – Petron overcame a massive second-set meltdown and pulled off a 25-17, 8-25, 25-20, 25-17 victory over Cignal in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix, Saturday at the Sta. Rosa Sports Center.
American imports Lindsay Stalzer and Hillary Hurley led the Blaze Spikers' hot start and fast recovery from a dismal second set.
Stalzer and Hurley, the duo that spearheaded Petron to the finals of last year’s Grand Prix, combined for 27 of the Blaze Spikers’ 44 attack points while providing leadership down the crucial stretch.
They finished with 18 points apiece on top of eight combined aces as the Blaze Spikers took an early lead with a 2-0 win-loss card.
“We had some troubles in the second set,” said Petron head coach Shaq Delos Santos. “It’s good that we were able to recover and finish strong.”
After trailing by just two, 8-10, the vaunted floor defense of the Blaze Spikers conked out, allowing the HD Spikers to uncork 15 consecutive points to claim the second set, 25-8.
But Stalzer and Hurley connived in the attack zone to give Petron an early lead, 8-5, entering the first technical timeout.
Cignal import Jeane Horton connected on a backrow attack to pull the HD Spikers closer, 14-17, but the American reinforcements caught fire anew, giving Petron a third-set victory, 25-20.
Sonja Milanovic of Bosnia finished with a team-high 23 points while Horton chipped in 20 markers for the HD Spikers, who suffered their first loss after a rousing debut against Cocolife last Tuesday.
Meanwhile, F2 Logistics kicked off its title-retention bid in style as it made short work of Cocolife, 25-21, 25-15, 25-16, in the second match.
Veteran Cha Cruz unleashed her deadly form while last year’s Most Valuable Player Maria Jose Perez of Venezuela stood out, spearheading the Cargo Movers at the attack zone of this match that lasted for 84 minutes.
Cruz punched in six of her 16 points off aces while Perez chipped in 14 markers for the Cargo Movers, who are missing the services of head coach Ramil de Jesus and the stars of De La Salle University this season.
They joined opening-day winner Foton with a 1-0 slate while rival Petron is ahead after crushing Cignal in four sets early in the day.
Serbian Sara Klisura and American Taylor Milton were the lone bright spots on offense with 17 and 12 points, respectively, for the Asset Managers, who have yet to win in two matches.