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SATURDAY SHOCKER High Speed Hitters upset powerhouse Cargo Movers

MIKA Reyes happy with PLDT’s wing and a prayer victory. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PVL

Games Monday:

(PhilSports Arena)

4 p.m. — Kurashiki Ablaze vs Cignal

6:30 p.m. — PLDT vs Kinh

Bac-Bac Ninh

PLDT pulled off a shocking upset over sluggish F2 Logistics, 25-21, 25-19, 25-18, to remain in the thick of the battle for a finals seat in the Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference yesterday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

The High Speed Hitters captured their first win in the round-robin semifinals to tie their victim with 1-2 win-loss carryover record.

Winger Royse Tubino shouldered most of the scoring load with PLDT resting Mean Mendrez due to nagging pain on her knee. Tubino finished with a game-high 20 points built on 18 hits, one kill block and one ace.

Playing with a sense of urgency after dropping their semis opener in straight sets against Cignal, the High Speed Hitters were the more aggressive side and saw little resistance from the seemingly exhausted and disheartened Cargo Movers.

PLDT’s intensity kept F2 Logistics, who also rested starting opposite Kim Kianna Dy due to a knee injury, from finding its groove as it absorbed back-to-back losses following a stinging five-set meltdown at the hands of unbeaten defending champion Creamline last Thursday.

“Of course, happy that our players bounced back from a bad game against Cignal,” High Speed Hitters coach Rald Ricafort said.

“The (semis) schedule is really tight just like F2 coming off a five-sets (game) that ended around 10 o’clock. I guess we’re just lucky that F2 looked exhausted and we took advantage of that situation.”

Fiola Ceballos added nine points, Dell Palomata had eight while skipper Mika Reyes made six for PLDT, which will take on Vietnamese club Kinh Bac-Bac Ninh on Monday.

Myla Pablo was the lone F2 Logistics player in double-digit scoring with 10 markers but had to bleed in attacks with an 8-of-34 spiking clip.

Cargo Movers team captain Aby Marano and Majoy Baron got nine points each while Ivy Lasina had seven.

F2 Logistics battles Kurashiki Ablaze on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Caitlyn Viray registered a career-best 22 points to anchor Choco Mucho’s 25-20, 26-24, 25-15 sweep of Chery Tiggo in the battle for seventh place.

The University of Santo Tomas product came out smoking, pounding away with 17 spikes while adding three kill blocks and two aces in a display of her scoring prowess.

“I’m happy that I can help the team. I get to repay our coaches’ trust,” the starting opposite spiker said.

Viray, who averaged 12 points per game in the elimination round, also had eight digs for the Flying Titans.

League-leading scorer Sisi Rondina took a backseat on offense to give the spotlight to Viray but still managed to put up 15 markers with all but one coming off spikes.

The former University Athletic Association of the Philippines Most Valuable Player also chipped in nine digs and six excellent receptions for Choco Mucho, which outgunned its rival on attacks, 47-33.

Flying Titans head coach Dante Alinsunurin praised his wards for heeding his call of closing their campaign on a positive note after falling short of advancing to the semis.

“Our mindset is to win this game because this is our last game. It’s important for us to build confidence heading to the next conference,” he said.

The Crossovers closed their campaign with back-to-back defeats to finish at eighth.

Mylene Paat had 15 points, Pauline Gaston posted 12 while Eya Laure got 11 for Chery Tiggo.

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