Marano, Phillips shine in Nationals' second win

Marano, Phillips shine in Nationals' second win
National team skipper Aby Marano tips the ball away from the defense of Cignal's Shirley Salamagos and Mylene Paat.

IMUS CITY -- The Philippine women’s national team again survived with a depleted line-up after squeaking past Cignal, 25-21, 25-15, 25-21, in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference Tuesday at the Imus Sports Center here.

From a nine-woman team in last Saturday’s win over Cocolife, only eight mighty players donned the national colors with team captain Aby Maraño and pool member MJ Phillips leading the way with 17 points apiece to win their second match.

Due to lack of players, the usual middle blocker Maraño played as opposite spiker and showed her versatility hitting 13 spikes, a pair of blocks and two aces including six excellent receptions in the midseason conference.

“I’m proud of our players because they are flexible in adjusting to other positions, especially our team captain who played as opposite spiker. She’s always ready,” said head coach Shaq Delos Santos on Maraño, who impressed the people of Imus together with Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas Inc. Vice President Peter Cayco and City Vice Mayor Ony Cantimbuhan.

Phillips also made a rousing debut wearing the national jersey as she tallied 16 kills off her 17 points.

Mainstay Ces Molina was also instrumental with six hits including 14 digs and six receptions while setter Kim Fajardo made 15 excellent and libero Dawn Macandili finishing with 18 digs. 

Delos Santos, however, lamented that they are still far from ready for the Asian Games in Jakarta this August.

“Honestly speaking we’re happy because we keep on winning here but we’re still far from our best form and we still have a lot of things to do,” he said. 

It was Cignal’s first defeat in the tourney but it will not affect its clean 3-0 win-loss record in Pool B.

National pool member Mylene Paat played for her mother club and finished with 11 points while Rachel Anne Daquis and Mumay Vivas added eight markers apiece.

Foton, meanwhile, refused to end its preliminary round without a win as it turned back University of the Philippines-United Auctioneers Inc. Lady Maroons, 25-10, 23-25, 25-22, 25-19.

After three straight setbacks, Jaja Santiago and Dindin Manabat took matters into their own hands as they carried the Tornadoes to win column to gain momentum in the classification battle for 7th to 10 places.

The Tornadoes will clash with the fifth seed in Pool B, which is either Cocolife or University of the East-Cherrylume on July 17.

Santiago led the scoring parade with 21 kills, two blocks and an ace for 24 points while Manabat chipped in 14 points, including clutch hits in the last two sets to finish the Lady Maroons in an hour and 40 minutes.

Bea de Leon also shone with nine points while libero Jen Reyes took charge of the floor with 23 digs and six excellent receptions.

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