THE pair of Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and Bang Pineda took control with superb ball-handling to lead Petron XCS to a 21-17, 21-16 upset of defending champion Danika Gendrauli and new partner Aby Marano of F2 Logistics Cargo Moves yesterday at the MOA Sands by the Bay.
Their well-coordinated plays allowed to them to become the first team to reach the semifinal round of the 2016 Philippine Super Liga Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup.
They broke past a 17-all deadlock in the first set, taking the last four points, first off Pineda’s drop shot, followed by Maizo-Pontillas’ block on Marano and a long spike to the backline.
Gendrauli’s error at the net then yielded Maizo-Pontillas and Pineda the set point.
“We were focused today. We got it with our serves and receives,” said Pineda, who followed Maizo-Pontillas’ hand signals to send their spikes towards the less-experienced Marano.
Top favorite Jovelyn Gonzaga and Nene Bautista of RC Cola-Army A later joined them in the semis, following a 21-14, 21-12 stopping of Petron Sprint 4T’s Frances Molina and Maica Morada.
This put Maizo-Pontillas and Pineda against the fearsome pair of Gonzaga and Bautista.
Maizo-Pontillas and Pineda, teaming up for the first time, earlier bounced back from a loss to Cherry Rondina and Patty Orendain of Foton, 21-9, 21-8.
Rondina and Orendain went on to sweep Pool C in the preliminaries.
In the second set, Maizo-Pontillas gave Petron XCS a chance to move ahead, 11-7, off her two aces and drop shot.
In men’s action, Navy B, behind Pajiji Alsali and Moliver Parcon, emerged unbeaten after two games, as they moved in contention for semis slots in Group A.
Alsali and Parcon first prevailed over University of the East’s Geric Ortega and Ruvince Arbot, 21-13, 21-18, and then won over FEU-A’s F. Cayaban and Francis Camcam, 21-18, 21-10.
Navy-A posted two straight triumphs in Group B when Nuramin Madsairi and Roldan Medino came away with a 21-9, 21-9 win over SM by the Bay’s Daniel and Tim Young.
They later defeated Kris Guzman and Christian Arbastro, 16-21, 21-17, 18-16.