PSL: PH Volley team, Petron triumph

Kim Fajardo of National team tossed one over Patria Jela Pena of Cocolife
Kim Fajardo of National team tosses one over Patria Jela Pena of Cocolife

Games Tuesday: (Imus Sports Centre)
2:00 pm — Philippines vs Cignal
4:15 pm — Foton vs UP-UAI
7:00 pm — Smart-Army vs UE-Cherrylume

Shaq Delos Santos posted a double-victory as he guided both the National Team and Petron to impressive wins in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference yesterday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

Making its first public appearance for the first time, the Nationals made short work of Cocolife, 25-13, 25-17, 25-11, before the Blaze Spikers walloped UP-United Auctioneers, Inc., 25-9, 25-16, 25-17, in the second game of the explosive triple bill of this prestigious club tourney bankrolled by Isuzu, UCPB Gen and SOGO Hotel with ESPN5, Hyper HD and Aksyon TV as broadcast partners.

Despite having only nine available players, the Nationals were still impressive as sisters Jaja Santiago and Dindin Manabat took turns in doing damage for the Nationals to emerge victorious in just 71 minutes of action in a no-bearing match that also has Senoh, Asics, Mikasa, Mueller and Grand Sport as technical sponsors.

Setter Kim Fajardo also shone brightly as she delivered 29 excellent sets on top of five hits while Mylene Paat was instrumental with seven points and 13 digs and skipper Aby Maraño fired away five aces for six points.

“We’re still adjusting and we missed a lot of key players but the important thing all the players delivered for us,” said Delos Santos, whose wards are preparing for the 18th Asian Games in August and the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Championship in September.

“Even it was a game without any bearing, we’re still thankful that we won our first game.”

Libero Denden Lazaro, who protected the floor with 16 digs and eight excellent receptions, opted to play for the Nationals against her mother club, Cocolife, as Dawn Macandili did not play to fulfill an academic requirement.

Cha Cruz-Behag and Kianna Dy were also in the bench but also opted to rest.

“We’re expecting to be full force in our last two games,” said Delos Santos as they battle Cignal and Smart on July 10 and 12, respectively.

Meanwhile, collegiate stars Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons, as well as national team stalwart Mika Reyes, fueled the Blaze Spikers to their second straight victory in as many games to tie idle F2 Logistics on top of their group.

Rondina led the way with an all-around finishing with 11 points including 13 digs and nine excellent receptions. Pons and Reyes chipped in 10 hits apiece while veteran Aiza Maizo-Pontillas also shone with nine markers.

“We did not underestimate them knowing UP is composed of aggressive young players. We really prepared hard for this game as we face tougher foes in our last two games,” Delos Santos said.

Isa Molde was the lone bright spot for the Lady Maroons, who dropped to a 0-2 win-loss record at fourth place in Pool A.