August 8, 2022
The Jules Samonte-led PLDT endures a huge fifth-set comeback by desperate Petro Gazz to rise to a third-place tie with Army Black Mamba in the PVL Invitational Conference

MANILA, Philippines – The PLDT High Speed Hitters hung tough in a five-set thriller as they kept the Petro Gazz Angels winless, 25-22, 22-25, 25-17, 21-25, 16-14, in the 2022 PVL Invitational Conference at the FilOil EcoOil Centre on Tuesday, July 19.

Jules Samonte sustained her fine play in PLDT’s winning start with a game-high 18 points off 16 attacks, 1 block, and 1 ace, plus 15 excellent digs, while Mika Reyes anchored the defense with 13 points built by a whopping conference-best 8 blocks.

The High Speed Hitters looked headed for an easy fifth-set pullaway after an errant Aiza Maizo-Pontillas attack pushed PLDT to an 8-2 lead. However, Petro Gazz squeezed out what little juice it had left in the tank, and tied the frame, 9-all, off a 7-1 response capped by a Fiola Ceballos attack error.

The game looked over for the second time in the fifth set after the returning Grethcel Soltones gave away consecutive attack error points to PLDT for the 13-9 Hitters lead, but MJ Phillips refused to yield, and towed the Angels to a 14-all tie.

Unfortunately for Petro Gazz, it was also Phillips who gave away match point off a blown serve, which PLDT’s Heather Guino-o returned in kind with a game-winning ace.

Soltones tied Samonte with a game-high 18-point effort with 18 excellent receptions in her first game since injuring her right knee in the 2022 Open Conference finals against Creamline.

Phillips added 17 points off 14 attacks and 3 blocks as captain Chie Saet saw her 27-excellent set line go to waste in the Angels third straight loss to go down 0-3 for the conference.

PLDT goes for its first conference winning streak in an all-important match against the surging Army Black Mamba Lady Troopers on Saturday, July 23, 2:30 pm, to break a 2-1 standings tie.

Meanwhile, Petro Gazz heads to Sta. Rosa, Laguna on Thursday, July 21 for a virtual do-or-die match at 2:30 pm against fellow winless squad Chery Tiggo Crossovers. – Rappler.com

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