MALOLOS CITY — Cignal took its sweet time before blasting away Sta. Lucia, 20-25, 25-10, 25-20, 25-10, yesterday in the Belo-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference Saturday at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center here.
Rachel Anne Daquis had an impressive all-around performance while Honey Royse Tubino spearheaded a sizzling run in the deciding set to lift the HD Spikers to an easy triumph in this prestigious women’s club tourney bankrolled by Mikasa, Asics, Senoh and Mueller with TV5 as official broadcast partner.
With the win, the HD Spikers have avenged their sorry five-set loss to Petron last Thursday and are now in the third spot with a 2-1 win-loss mark.
Daquis, a fresh recruit from RC Cola-Army, delivered seven kills, three aces and two blocks for 12 points while Tubino finished with 11 markers for the HD Spikers, who fielded their second unit early in the game before veterans like Daquis, Tubino, Jovelyn Gonzaga and Chie Saet restored order in the second and third sets.
In the second match, Foton flirted with disaster before hammering out a 25-19, 25-16, 23-25, 26-24 win over Generika-Ayala.
Dindin Santiago and Gretchel Soltones finished with 19 and 18 points, respectively, for the Tornadoes, who started out slow but caught fire in the crucial stretch of the fourth set to claim the victory.
The HD Spikers and the Tornadoes are now tied at the second spot with a 2-1 win-loss mark behind unbeaten Petron.
The Blaze Spikers, however, are still playing neophyte Cocolife as of press time.
“We managed to cut down our errors unlike last game,” said Cignal coach George Pascua, admitting they cannot afford to relax now as they’re setting their sights on making it to the semifinals in this very short but competitive tournament that also has Gold’s Gym as official fitness partner and UCPB Gen as official insurance provider.
“We have a very good chance of making it to the top three. We just need to work hard and treat each game as if it’s a championship match.”
Daquis said their performance may have been impressive, but they still remain a work in progress.
“We’ve been together for only a month. We’re still working on making some adjustments,” said the comely open spiker, who was named Most Valuable Player of the PSL All-Filipino Conference two years ago.
The HD Spikers emerged with less errors compared to the Lady Realtors, 24-31, while having a huge advantage in the attack points, 50-31, and aces, 9-4.
One of the two new teams this year, the Lady Realtors came out firing in the opening set as 6-foot-1 Lourdes Clemente and hard-hitting Rachel Austero took turns in piercing the defensive blanket of Cignal in the first set.
But after Cignal equalized the match at one set apiece, the fire in the eyes of Sta. Lucia slowly diminished as the HD Spikers turned a 16-all deadlock into a 24-18 lead to capture the third set and gain a sky-high morale entering the fourth.
Clemente finished with eight kills for 10 points while Jonah Sabete had eight kills for the Lady Realtors, who have yet to win in two starts.