LIPA CITY – Generika-Ayala started its campaign on a winning note by dominating Cherrylume, 25-19, 25-11, 23-25, 25-17, in the classification phase of the Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference last night at the De La Salle Sentrum here.
The Lifesavers blew hot and cold before running away with the victory to settle for a seventh-place finish in this prestigious women’s volleyball tourney bankrolled by Rebisco, Belo and Gold’s Gym with Tv5 as official broadcast partner.
Sta. Lucia and Cocolife, two young teams who finished last in the previous conference, are still clashing for fifth place at press time while Cignal and Foton will battle for third place when the league rolls to Muntinlupa Sports Center this Tuesday.
Spotlight will be trained on F2 Logistics and Petron, who will kick off their best-of-three finals series of this battle that has Senoh, Mikasa, Mueller, Asics and Grand Sport as technical sponsors also on Tuesday at the same Muntinlupa venue.
The Cargo Movers are tipped to have a hard time defending their crown as they will be stacked against powerhouse Blaze Spikers, who will parade the veteran core of Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Rhea Dimaculangan, Bang Pineda and Frances Molina together with rising stars Mika Reyes, Remy Palma, Marivic Meneses, Bernadeth Pons and Sisi Rondina.
Fiola Ceballos spearheaded the assault, finishing with 13 attacks and a pair of aces for 15 points while captain Gen Casugod and Patty Orendain finished with 13 and 11 markers, respectively, for the Lifesavers, who were steered by former national team player Rosemarie Prochina after head coach Francis Vicente opted to rest after he caught the flu.
A pride of Central Philippine University in Iloilo City, Ceballos was the brightest star in the first two sets before the Iron Lady Warriors crawled their way back to capture the third set.
But the fourth set was an entirely different story as the Lifesavers raced to a 10-4 lead before erecting a huge 17-7 advantage, thanks to the strong hits by Patty Orendain and the defensive intensity of Mikaela Lopez at the net.
Cherrylume inched closer as Generika-Ayala fell to a maze of errors, 10-17, but Angeli Araneta delivered a booming kill from the middle to capture a 23-13 edge en route to the victory.
“Pride na namin ang nakataya. Ayaw namin na tumapos kami na nasa huli,” said Ceballos, a noted beach volley specialist who is making heads turn with her strong performance this conference.
The Lifesavers dominated the Iron Lady Warriors at the attack zone, 56-31, and service box, 10-7, but yielded 30 extra points off turnovers.
Skipper Mary Ann Mendrez emerged with 17 kills and two aces for Cherrylume, a developmental team bannered by the core of University of the East that is using the tourney as preparation for the upcoming UAAP wars.