MANILA, Philippines -- PacificTown Army put up a tremendous fight in the fifth set to break the hearts of the BanKo Perlas Spikers in their deciding game for third place in the 2019 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference on Sunday.
The Lady Troopers battled back from a one-set deficit twice, recovered from a four-point hole in the deciding frame, and got clutch plays from Jovelyn Gonzaga for a 18-25, 25-16, 20-25, 25-15, 15-13 triumph at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
"Ang mga player naman, every game naman naka-ready," said Army coach Kungfu Reyes after the game.
"Ang naging worry lang naman namin ay magkakasunod ang mga games namin, pero nagawaan namin ng paraan," he added. "Until the last moment, they were up by four, pero sabi nga one point at a time."
"Nakuha naman namin sa tiyaga at sa depensa namin at the net."
BanKo Perlas looked headed for victory after surging to a 10-6 lead in the fifth frame, thanks to Sue Roces' trademark running hit. But Jenelle Jordan responded with a quick hit, and Royse Tubino turned back Roces at the net to make it a one-point game.
Nicole Tiamzon came up with big hits for BanKo Perlas to keep her team ahead, with her last hit putting them up 12-10. However, Army scored five of the match's last six points to claim the win.
Olena Lymareva-Flink got the run started with a down-the-line hit, before Gonzaga saved a broken play with a hit that slipped through the BanKo blockers. Gonzaga then rejected Dzi Gervacio in the next rally to give Army a 13-12 advantage.
A crosscourt hit by Tiamzon knotted the count, but Flink again uncorked a down-the-line attack to put Army at match point. Gonzaga then ended the match at the service line with an ace -- her second of the game.
Flink did the heavy lifting on offense, finishing with 32 points built on 29 kills. Jordan had 19 points on 16 attacks and 3 blocks, while Tubino finished with 12 points. Gonzaga finished with 9 markers.
Squandered in the loss was a 22-point outing from Tiamzon, who earned First Best Outside Spiker honors on Saturday. The Pearl Spikers had taken a 1-0 lead in the best-of-3 series, but were beaten by four sets by Army on Saturday that allowed the Lady Troopers to force a decider.
Sutadta Chuewulim finished with 16 points, while Gervacio had 13 markers in a losing effort for BanKo Perlas.
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