Cignal finally solved the great riddle that is Pet-ron as it essayed a master-ful 25-22, 18-25, 25-15, 25-19 victory in the final round of the Belo Philippine Su-perliga (PSL) Invitational Conference yesterday at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan.
Jovelyn Gonzaga and Rachel Anne Daquis played like a two-headed spiking machine for the HD Spikers, who finally dealt the Blaze Spikers their first loss in this prestigious club tourney bankrolled by Senoh, Mueller, Asics and Mikasa with TV5 as offi-cial broadcast partner.
Gonzaga had 16 points while Daquis delivered 15 markers as the HD Spiker used their vast experience to their advantage to deliver a strong finishing kick in the third and fourth sets.
“This is the turning point in our campaign. I told the team that if we win over Petron, our morale will get a boost,” said Cignal coach George Pascua, whose wards lost to the Blaze Spikers in their first meeting.
“That setback should serve as a learning ex-perience to us. It means that we still have more to improve as team. I’m glad that we pulled it through.”
Earlier, Generika-Ayala came through with some scary moments before booking a thrilling 25-19, 23-25, 25-27, 25-18, 15-12 victory over Sta. Lucia in the classification battle for 4th to 6th places.
Gen Casugod was on fire, delivering 20 kills and five blocks for a game-high 25 points while Araneta and Ceballos had 13 and 14 markers, respectively.
Patty Jane Orendain also turned in a strong performance with 11 hits while Angel Legacion re-gistered 22 of the Life-savers’ 32 excellent sets.
Generika-Ayala coach Francis Vicente said they were headed for a flawless performance until com-placency got into the way in the second and third sets, allowing the hungry and aggressive Lady Realtors to stretch the match into a deciding fifth set.
“They played a little bit complacent,” said Vicente, who will handle the national team in the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Cham-pionship and the 29th Southeast Asian Games.
“So that’s one of our lapses in this match. We were supposed to be ahead until we relaxed. It’s hard to win, especially if you’re getting complacent.”
Vicente added that they have to get rid of com-placency if they want to go far.
“It’s something we should get rid of. If we want to claim the fourth place, we should still instill our killer instinct.”
But Generika-Ayala caught fire in the fifth set as Casugod, Araneta and Ceballos took turns in punching holes on Sta. Lucia’s defensive blanket.
From a razor-thin 11-10 advantage, the Lifesavers capitalized on the Lady Realtors’ errors before Araneta scored on a booming down the line kill while Ceballos unleashed an attack from the open spot to formally conquer the match point.
Janine Navarro delivered 14 kills for a total of 15 points while middle blocker Lourdes Clemente had 11 points for the Lady Realtors, who will try to salvage some measure of pride against Cocolife in the classification battle for 4th to 6th places today.