After a straight-sets loss to the Petron Blaze Spikers, United Volleyball Club got back on track and ended the first round of their PSL Grand Prix 2019 campaign with a resounding four-set win against the PLDT Home Fibr Power Hitters 25-18, 17-25, 25-22, 25-17 at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan.
UVC started off strong by winning the first set courtesy of heads-up performances by Yaasmeen Bedhart-Ghani, Kalei Mau, and setter Alohi Robins-Hardy. But PLDT tied the tally at one set apiece with strong showings from imports Kendra Dahlke and Grace Lazard.
The Joshua Ylaya-mentored squad edged the wards of Coach Roger Gorayeb in the third set. Meanwhile, Tai Manu-Olevao waxed hot in the fourth set to take PLDT’s chances of forcing a decider. Bedhart-Ghani led UVC with 20 points while Manu-Olevao had 19. Kalei Mau led all locals with 16 points. Even though she was feeling a bit under the weather, Robins-Hardy ran the UVC offense well to tally 25 excellent sets to go with her seven points.
For Ylaya, it was all about who wanted it more. “What I love about my team is that there isn’t a lot of technical adjustments that we need to make. Our biggest hurdle is our overcoming of ourselves. It is the mental aspect of the game. When PLDT was making some runs kanina, we knew that we had to stop PLDT when they made two straight points. Let us not give them the chance to get momentum to this match,” said the youthful mentor.
Absent from team practice yesterday due to fever, Gabe Norwood’s first cousin didn’t want to let her team down despite not feeling 100%. “Sometimes, you just gotta push through for your team and that’s all I did today,” game MVP Robins-Hardy shared in the post-game interview.
The Power Hitters, whose three-game winning streak was snapped, were led by Lazard and Dahlke with 17 points apiece. No other player scored in double figures as Sasa Devanadera had the third-highest total with seven markers.
United Volleyball Club (4-3) will have a one-week break before starting the second round of preliminaries against the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers on March 14 at FilOil. Meanwhile, PLDT (3-3) will try to end the first round with a win as they face F2 as well on March 9 at the Muntinlupa Sports Center.
UVC (3) – Bedhart-Ghani 20, Manu-Olevao 19, Mau 16, Robins-Hardy 7, Angustia 6, Palec 4, Tejada 0, Tiu 0, Pineda (L)
PLDT (1) – Lazard 17, Dahlke 17, Devanadera 7, Alvarez 6, Nabor 5, Urdas 4, Soltones 0, Guillerma 0, Pantone (L), Eroa (L)