MANILA, Philippines — The PLDT relied on Mich Morente and Mean Mendrez to beat Petro Gazz, 21-25, 31-29, 25-21, 21-25, 15-13, to extend its all-win streak. three games for the top-share tournament of the 2023 All-Philippines Premier League Volleyball Championship on Thursday at the FilOil EcoOil Center in San Juan City.
After the High Speed Hitters failed to finish the match in the fourth set, the two teams engaged in a tense decisive battle until Morente scored the decisive in-game goal to lift the PLDT to the league lead with Creamline. , F2 Logistics , and Chery Tiggo tied 3-1.
The PLDT took a one-off lead in the fifth inning, 9-10, but scored three straight points, ignited by Mika Reyes’ running attack and Jovielyn Prado’s breakthrough, to take a 12-10 lead.
However, Mendrez’s serve went wide. Jonah Sabete ended the game but her next attack was too wide, followed by Remy Palma making a broken play to equalize for the seventh time.
Dell Palomata saw the opening, hit a floating ball to score the game, 14-13, before Morente made the shot.
Morente and Mendrez lead the High Speed Hitters with 21 points each with 15 goals, while libero Kath Arado is everywhere with 40 goals and 20 excellent tackles.
Morente, who has been able to maintain his excellent play since consecutive victory over Chery Tiggo Last Tuesday, admitted Petro Gazz’s defense in the net was disappointing as it scored 14 kills to their five saves.
But she relied on her teammates’ trust, especially when she prepared to strike to win the game.
“Honestly, the first part of the game was very annoying because of their blocks. I just kept thinking that I could do it,” Morente said in Filipino. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of my teammates, especially the final set [play] from Kath. It means a lot to me because she believes that I can score goals.”
Prado scored 15 points and 13 hits, while Palomata added 12 points to stop Petro Gazz’s two-match winning streak.
“It’s not about streaks. What we want is we improve every game. Like what I told them before, if we can’t win immediately, we have to persevere and show our bravery because we’re playing in the fifth set again,” coach PLDT’s Rald Ricafort speaks in Filipino.
MJ Phillips’ top 24 in-game points, marked by six blocks, were ruined when her first full match after a shoulder injury ended in a losing streak.
Aiza Maizo-Pontillas also assigned the Angels 19 points and 16 digs, while the Soltones had 17 points and 16 digs as they slipped a record 2-2 draw with Choco Mucho.
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