By Kristel Satumbaga
PayMaya leaned on the heroics of former NCAA MVP Grethcel Soltones to beat BanKo-Perlas, 28-26, 25-16, 25-27, 25-27, 15-12, and force a rubber match in their semis series in the 2018 Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference at The Arena in San Juan City.
Soltones stepped up when she was needed most, coming through with back-to-back hits to give the High Flyers a 13-11 fifth-set lead en route to the win that avenged their 25-19, 26-28, 25-23, 25-23 loss in the opener of their best-of-three series.
PayMaya’s win, likewise, snapped BanKo-Perlas’ eight-game winning run since the elims. Game 3 is set tomorrow also at the same venue.
Soltones finished with 22 points, including 18 kills as she gave import Tess Rountree the much-needed firepower.
In another fine showing, Rountree erupted for 34 points built on 27 kills, five aces and two blocks.
Shelby Sullivan added 14 points.
PayMaya had a chance to close out the match in the third set after taking 24-22 lead but Jutarat Montripila sizzled to keep BanKo-Perlas afloat.
The High Flyers also had a chance in the fourth with two matchpoint advantages, but failed to close out the match.
“Naging tentative pumalo yung mga imports ko nung fourth set. Sinabi ko lang, ‘Hit it as hard as you can. Don’t worry about the blocks,’” said PayMaya coach Roger Gorayeb.
Lakia Bright had 35 points while Montripila had 23 for BanKo-Perlas in losing efforts.
In men’s play, Vice Co. held its composure in the crunch to turn back Air Force, 25-22, 16-25, 25-23, 29-31, 17-15, and forge a deciding match for a finals berth.
An error from the Jet Spikers followed by a hard smash from Richard Solis sealed the win for the Blockbusters, who breathed life in their maiden title campaign after bowing in Game 1, 27-25, 17-25, 25-19, 25-21, in their best-of-three semifinal series.