Banko-Perlas fought back from a fourth set stumble with a strong start in the decider then staved off PacificTown-Army late rally to hack out a 25-27, 25-20, 25-22, 21-25, 15-9 decision and clinch the second semifinal berth in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference before a packed Sunday crowd at the Univ. of St. La Salle Coliseum in Bacolod.
Kathy Bersola, Ella de Jesus and Nicole Tiamzon combined in the early going of the fifth frame for a 7-4 BanKo lead then Dzi Gervacio and Sue Roces took over in the clutch after the Lady Troopers closed to within, 9-10, as the Perlas Spikers closed out with five straight points to get back at their first round tormentors and join the unbeaten Creamline Cool Smashers in post-elims play with a 10-5 slate.
PacificTown-Army, which toppled BanKo-Perlas in four in the first round elims of the season-ending conference of the league organized by Sports Vision, slipped to 6-7 and now in danger of missing a playoff for the last semis seat.
BanKo edged PacificTown-Army by just one in spikes, 64-63, and even yielded the blocking duel, 7-10. But the Perlas Spikers pounced on their rivals’ miscues, scoring 32 points while yielding 24 markers off their errors.
Thai coach Apichat Kongsawat drew double-digit outputs from five players to underscore BanKo’s balanced offensive sock with Roces topscoring with 20 hits to likewise clinch the Best Player of the game honors. Gervacio backed her up with 18 markers while Tiamzon, De Jesus and Bersola added 17, 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Army drew a combined 41-hit effort from Royse Tubino and Jovelyn Gonzaga while Jem Gutierrez added 10 markers and MJ Balse-Pabayo and Joanne Buñag combined for 17 hits. But the Lady Troopers lost steam when it mattered most.
The Perlas Spikers threatened to pull away at 10-7 on Tiamzon’s last hit but Tubino scored on a through-the-block hit then followed it up with a vicious attack to steer the Lady Troopers back in the match.
The Perlas Spikers, however, came out of a huddle in fierce form, racking up five straight points, including a hit from Gervacio and a kill block from Roces, who also flaunted her signature running attack that put the team at match point, 14-9.
Army put its fate on its top spiker one last time but Tubino’s attack sailed long, enabling BanKo to clinch the set, the match and the coveted spot in the Final Four.