A hot-starting PLDT-MyDSL quickly recovered from a third set blunder to beat a game Cagayan Valley side, 25-16, 25-17, 22-25, 26-24, and formally capture the first women’s division semifinal slot of the Philippine Super Liga (PSL) Volleyball Grand Prix yesterday at the Ynares Arena in Pasig City.
The Speed Boosters — who made a quick exit in the maiden conference – banked anew on American import Savannah Noyes, who connived with local ace Suzanne Roces in blasting the Lady Rising Suns’ defense for their fifth straight win and a clean sweep of the eliminations.
Noyes finished with 20 of her 23 points on smashes while Roces had 15 points for PLDT-MyDSL, join second seed TMS-Philippine Army—the Invitational tournament winner– in the semifinals.
The Lady Rising Suns, Cignal, Petron and RC Cola will figure in a pair of do-or-die quarterfinal clashes with the winners advancing in this tournament organized by Sports Core and recognized by the International Volleyball Federation with Mikasa, Asics, LGR and Jinling Sports as main backers and Solar Sports as broadcast partner.
The quarterfinal round starts on Wednesday while the semis is set on Saturday also at the same venue.
“More than anything else, this win was a big boost to our mindset entering the semifinals,” said PLDT-MyDSL coach Roger Gorayeb, adding that being the top seed gives them the luxury of facing a lighter foe in the semifinals.
“We’d rather face either Cagayan or Army in the finals. Both of them are dangerous opponents who are capable of pulling an upset. Mahirap na, baka ma-tsambahan pa nila kami sa semis.”
Against the Lady Rising Suns, the Speed Boosters went to work early before taking it easy in the next two sets.
“I told them that we only need two sets to keep our number one position in the semifinals,” Gorayeb said. “That’s why I’m so glad that the girls responded with a good performance in the first two sets. Everything went on as planned.”
True enough, PLDT-MyDSL entered the third set more relaxed. At one point, the Speed Boosters allowed Thai import Patcharee Saengmuang to come up with four consecutive hits for a 21-17 lead that paved the way for a 25-22 third set clincher.