by Jerome Lagunzad
Games Tomorrow (Imus Sports Center)
2 p.m. – Generika-Ayala vs Smart
4:15 p.m. – Sta. Lucia vs F2 Logistics
Showing its championship pedigree once more, Petron pulled off an escape act against Foton, 14-25, 25-16, 22-25, 25-18, 15-13, over the weekend to stay unscathed in the 2018 Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix at the Sta. Rosa Sports Center.
Blowing hot and cold in the first three sets, the Blaze Spikers turned it up in the fourth frame then dug deep in their vast reservoir of experience to hold off the Tornadoes in a tense finish and sustain their flawless start to six matches.
American import Hillary Hurley tallied 19 kills and two blocks for 21 points while compatriot Lindsay Stalzer delivered 17 points, built around 11 kills, three blocks and three aces, to help Petron’s cause.
“Definitely there’s some pressure there,” said Hurley, heaving a big sigh of relief after they hung tough in their first five-set victory in the import-laced tourney. “But I told my (teammates) that if we keep that out of my mind, if we play more as a team, then it would be easier.”
Foton, the only two-time Grand Prix champion in league history, suffered its third loss in five matches and dropped to fifth spot, but not after giving Petron a whale of a fight.
Down by as many as four points early in the decisive set, the Tornadoes fought back mainly behind solid reinforcement Brooke Kranda and evened things up at nine-apiece.
But the Blaze Spikers stayed composed, with Remy Palma scoring off a quick kill and veteran Rhea Dimaculangan putting them at match point, 14-11, off a service ace.