Down two sets and behind 12-14 in the fifth, BanKo-Perlas kept its composure and kept its semifinal bid alive as it hacked out a stirring 19-25, 23-25, 25-18, 25-22, 17-15 victory over a shocked Motolite side in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Reinforced Conference at Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan, Laguna yesterday.
Playmaker Jem Ferrer kept going to Nicole Tiamzon in the nerve-wracking finish and the latter responded in style, firing three straight hits to lift the Perlas Spikers to the victory that pushed them past the Power Builders in their spirited battle for the fourth and last semis berth.
The win snapped BanKo-Perlas’ alarming three-game skid as it improved to 3-5 with two games left in the double round elims of the season-ending conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.
Motolite, which came into the match brimming with confidence after carving a five-set escape over also-ran BaliPure Saturday to move to solo fourth, took its sixth loss against three wins and slipped to fifth with one game left.
Tiamzon pounded a through-the-block shot that tied the count at 15 in the decider then fired a power hit after Sue Roces kept the ball alive off an equally strong spike from Motolite’s Channon Thompson and the former UP stalwart capped his endgame brilliance with another blast that sealed the victory and kept the Power Builders stunned for a couple of seconds.
“We just needed to reset after going two sets down. Then in the fifth, patibayan na lang ng loob,” said Tiamzon, who finished with a top-scoring 19 points, including 18 attacks.
BanKo-Perlas imports Sutadta Chuewulim and Yasemin Yildirim, overshadowed by Thompson and fellow reinforcement Krystel Esdelle majority of the match, stepped up late in the match, combining for key hits as the Perlas Spikers bucked two match points to force extension.
Still, Thompson atoned for another foiled attempt with a vicious attack to shove Motolite to 15-14 but Ferrer and Tiamzon had other things in mind, combining for those crucial plays gave the Perlas Spikers some kind of a push in their semis drive in the tournament sponsored by Mikasa, Asics and KFC.
Kathy Bersola, another former UP mainstay, backed Tiamzon with 17 points while Yildirim and Chuewulim combined for 31 points.
Motolite, which used its superb blocking to take the first two sets, drew 30 points from Thompson and 27 markers from Esdelle but the Power Builders sputtered in the third and fourth sets, enabling the Perlas Spikers to gain ground and momentum going into the fifth.