MANILA – The Petron Blaze Spikers wrapped up the first round of the 2019 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix on a high note, as they crushed Cignal, 25-15, 25-19, 25-14, on Saturday at the Muntinlupa Sports Center.
With American import Stephanie Niemer catching fire, the Blaze Spikers got off to a strong start and never let up, en route to a convincing win.
Niemer, who is eyeing her first title in the PSL, finished with a game-high 23 points built on 18 kills, one block, and four aces for the Blaze Spikers.
Petron concluded the first round of the preliminaries with a perfect 7-0 win-loss record.
Kath Bell was also impressive, delivering 19 points while Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and Remy Palma had five points apiece for Petron, which got the job done in just 66 minutes of action.
"I think we did a good job, but it doesn't end here," said Petron coach Shaq delos Santos. "It's a good thing if we can maintain our winning streak. But we still have to step up if we want to remain undefeated."
Delos Santos said with Niemer and Bell doing a marvelous job at both ends, the locals had an easy time stepping up, especially when the going gets tough.
"I'm really proud of our imports," he said. "They're very dedicated and very professional."
"Kath is actually playing despite having a flu," the coach revealed. "I was expecting her not to play, but she still gave her best."
Erica Wilson was the lone bright spot as she delivered 13 points for the HD Spikers, who finished the first round with a 4-3 win-loss slate.
The Blaze Spikers will start their second-round campaign when they battle struggling Foton on Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Meanwhile, F2 Logistics completed its recovery from a sorry loss as it crushed PLDT, 25-20, 25-21, 25-19, in the second game.
Lindsay Stalzer was back in her old self as she notched 19 points while Becky Perry added 12 markers for the Cargo Movers, whose five-game run was halted by a four-set loss to Petron late Thursday.
With that, F2 Logistics ended the first round with a 6-1 win-loss mark, one game behind the Blaze Spikers, who made short work of Cignal in the first match.
Grace Lazard had 14 attacks to finish with 16 points for PLDT, which dropped to 3-4.
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