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Sunday, May 26, 2024

High Speed Hitters fend off Athletics, tie Flying Titans

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PLDT geared up for a demanding challenge ahead in pursuit of a coveted semifinal berth, withstanding Strong Group’s unexpected resurgence in the last two sets to clinch a 25-12, 25-21, 25-17 victory in the Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference prelims at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City Tuesday night.

Despite the Athletics’ spirited effort in the second and third frames, the High Speed Hitters managed to maintain their composure and nail their fifth consecutive win, pulling even with the Choco Mucho Flying Titans at the top with 7-1 records. However, their triumph also sets the stage for a tough test as they navigate through a competitive field of contenders vying for post-elims berths.

They play the Chery Tiggo Crossovers on April 16, take on the Cignal HD Spikers on April 20, before facing off with the Creamline Cool Smashers on April 25, all crucial encounters. Chery Tiggo and Cignal tote identical 5-2 slates while Creamline shares second place with Petro Gazz at 6-2.

In a game where coach Rald Ricafort opted to give key starters like Savi Davison, Erika Santos and Dell Palomata limited minutes, Jules Samonte and Kiesha Bedonia rose to the occasion, delivering standout performances. Bedonia tallied 16 points, supported by Bedonia and Shiela Mae Kiseo’s identical 11 markers, in their impressive one-hour, 15-minute victory.
Bedonia later clinched the game’s top honors while Rachel Austero, Jessey de Leon combined for 12 points.

Davison and Palomata chipped three points apiece while Santos had a solitary point.

“I seized the opportunity provided by my coaches and remained confident throughout,” said Bedonia in Pilipino. “As we look ahead to our last three matches, our team is committed to rigorous training and thorough preparation.”
“That’s the game plan all along – to give our second stringers extended minutes. We’re happy that they all performed well,” said Ricafort.
Following a lopsided result in the first set, PLDT faced adversity in the next as Strong Group mounted a challenge, leading to an 18-all deadlock. However, the High Speed Hitters regrouped just in time with Samonte and Bedonia spearheading a decisive 7-3 run to secure a 2-0 set advantage.

Still, the Athletics refused to fold up, even leading the High Speed Hitters in three occasions early in the third, the last at 9-7 on PLDT’s service fault and attack error.

The High Speed Hitters’ defensive prowess, however, proved pivotal, enabling them to thwart the Athletics’ offensive efforts and regain momentum when needed most.

A big 10-4 attack shoved PLDT to a 17-13 lead and the High Speed Hitters cruised to victory in another 7-4 roll anchored on a Bedonia’s powerful blast that ended a long exchange and Samonte’s baseline hit that closed out the match.

Sheeka Espinosa and Dolly Verzosa scored six points each, Mary Joy Onofre scored five markers and Sousan Raslan and Andrea Rebleza made four points apiece for the Athletics, who dropped their eighth straight game.

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