The PLDT Home Fibr Power Hitters continues its surge in the PSL Grand Prix 2019 as they disposed the lowly Foton Tornadoes in four sets 25-16, 27-25 ,22-25, 26-24 in their second preliminary round match at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
PLDT started hot in the first set thanks to import Grace Lazard and locals Aiko Urdas, Jasmine Nabor, and Sasa Devanadera. However, the error-filled second set was a tight one as both teams never let up. Lazard went toe-to-toe with Spanish reinforcement Milagros Collar in scoring but PLDT’s will to win enabled them to take set two as well.
In the third set, the the Power Hitters tried their best to break away from the Tornadoes. But a 4-0 run, three from Courtney Felinski’s aces, ended the set in favor of the Tornadoes.
Both teams fought fiercely in the early goings of the fourth set. But the Power Hitters dominated at the tail end to take their fifth win in nine games.
Lazard led PLDT with 16 attacks, three blocks, and six service aces while Kendra Dahlke had 19. The local triumvirate of Devanadera, Urdas, and Shola Alvarez were productive for Coach Roger Gorayeb’s squad as they tallied a combined 27 points.
Gorayeb reminded her girls especially in the fourth set about another comeback of the Tornadoes. “Lagi ko sa kanila nireremind yung service error lalu na nung we were leading by 24-19. Nagservice error si Grace (Lazard), ayun na nga, doon na nagumpisa ang Foton pero okay lang kasi yung mga bata kasi nakarecover ng maaga. Pangit lang yung pagkatalo namin nung third set pero buti at nakabawi.”
“Just relentless. That’s all that I have to say and it’s just so great to be a part of a team like that. I think the fit is just so well for my personality, the way I play and I’m playing alongside girls who just want to win and give it their all. There’s nothing more that I could wish for,” Lazard shared in a post-game interview.
When asked about what changed in this PLDT squad, the former Iowa State standout said “I think just going for the ball. Just supporting each other whether that’s covering or blocking, that is a big thing for us. We wanted to make sure that we were covering each hitter. That’s the only way that we can have the game going and we’ll make more opportunities for ourselves to score. That’s what we’ve done and we’ve aced it.”
The Tornadoes, now on an eight-game losing streak, were led by Collar with 23 points while Courtney Felinski added 15. Carmina Aganon continues her fine second round by finishing with nine points but the other locals for the Aaron Velez-coached squad did not produce as much.
The PLDT Home Fibr Power Hitter (5-4) will fight for their third straight win as they travel to Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan, Laguna on March 16 and face the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers. Meanwhile, the Tornadoes (1-8) will try to end the longest losing streak in franchise history versus the Cignal HD Spikers on March 21 at Filoil.
PLDT (3) – Lazard 25, Dahlke 19, Devanadera 12, Urdas 11, Nabor 4, Alvarez 5, Soltones 0, Sta. Rita 0, Pantone (L), Eroa (L)
Foton (1) – Collar 23, Felinski 15, Aganon 9, Ortiz 5, Santiago-Manabat 4, Sy 1, Casugod 1, Perez 1, Sandoval 0, Reyes (L), Yongco (L)
Don’t miss the FIVB VNL 2019!
Watch all 260 games of the best men & womens international volleyball online - LIVE & on-demand!