Meralco clips PNP in V-League opener
MANILA, Philippines - Meralco churned out enough power in the decider to outlast Philippine National Police and hack out a 25-17, 17-25, 21-25, 25-15, 15-9 victory in its maiden campaign in the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan yesterday.
Skipper Maureen Penetrante-Ouano spewed 19 hits, including 12 kills, four blocks and three service aces, while three others turned in double-digit outputs to help steer the Power Spikers to the scrambling win in the one-hour, 48-minute encounter kicking off the Second Conference of the league’s 10th season.
Maica Morada and guest player Ivy Remulla blasted away 15 hits apiece while former La Salle mainstay Stephanie Mercado unleashed a 12-kill performance as the Power Spikers put to naught Frances Molina and Janine Marciano’s combined 44-point effort for PNP.
“Our more experienced players stepped up in this match,” said Meralco coach Oliver Almadro in Filipino, referring to Ouano, a former league MVP, Remulla and Morada.
He also made no effort to hide his elation with the way his wards played despite being formed just only two weeks ago.
“We’ve only practiced for two weeks and it’s only just a week that we have been practicing as a complete team because most of my players are working,” added Almadro.
Powerhouse Smart-Maynilad lived up to the hype as it rolled past Far Eastern U, 25-16, 25-5, 25-19, to gain an early share of the lead.
Former UST stalwart Maru Banaticla came away with 19 hits while former MVP Sue Roces and rising star Gretchel Soltones added nine points apiece and Charo Soriano and Nica Guliman scored five hits each for the Smart side, which even showed up without former Ateneo star Alyssa Valdez.
Molina and Marciano uncorked 22 hits apiece for the Lady PATROLers, including a combined 38-attack but couldn’t pull it off in the last two sets, enabling the Power Spikers to bounce back and launch their first-ever stint in the Shakey’s-sponsored league on a winning note.
Meralco charged back from a 1-2 set deficit with a fiery performance in the fourth set to force the decider, which appeared headed to a down-to-the-wire finish until the Power Spikers racked up four straight points to break a 5-5 count.
Both teams traded hits in the first 10 exchanges off their service turns before the Power Spikers strung up four straight points to post a 9-5 lead. PNP broke the spell to close within three but Meralco countered by winning four of the next five points to pull away, 13-7, en route to victory.
Former Ateneo star Fille Cainglet added seven hits and also came away with seven digs to complement with libero Jen Reyes’ 11 while ace setter April Jose added six points while putting up 31 excellent sets that anchored Meralco’s attacks.
In contrast, Ana Conception could only dish off 13 excellent sets for PNP, which also drew seven points apiece from starters Michelle Datuin and Melissa Ogana while Concepcion and skipper Jennifer Mia tossed in three and two points, respectively.