IMUS CITY: Generika-Ayala threaded the eye of a needle before eking out a thrilling 25-21, 25-23, 23-25, 22-25, 15-11 victory over Smart in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix on Tuesday at the Imus Sports Center.
Darlene Ramdin came through with some crucial hits before watching the Giga Hitters crumble under pressure to tow the Lifesavers to their first win in this prestigious club tourney bankrolled by Isuzu, UCPB Gen and Rebisco with ESPN5 as official broadcast partner.
A returning import from Trinidad and Tobago, Ramdin erupted for 23 kills and three blocks for 26 points while American Symone Hayden chipped in 21 points for the Lifesavers, who needed two hours and nine minutes to overcome the tough Smart squad that was spearheaded by the prolific Gyselle Silva.
Silva, the hard-hitting former Cuban national player, was again in her deadly self as she knocked down 30 kills and three aces for a conference-high 35 points while Trivunovic added 22 hits for the upset-conscious Giga Hitters.
But her effort went for naught as she failed to generate enough support from the locals, especially in the crucial deciding set where Ramdin and the Lifesavers went for the kill.
“I just told them not to get pressured. Just follow the instruction and treat this match as if this is just a practice game,” said Generika-Ayala coach Sherwin Meneses shortly after posting his first victory in this league that also has Senoh, Mikasa, Asics, LGR and Grand Sport as technical sponsors.
“We’re not actually concerned with the game, we’re more concerned with our improvement as a team. I’m glad that we had some improvements and we managed to apply everything we learned in practice.”
But the grueling match appeared more than just a practice game.
With the Giga Hitters breathing down their neck in the fifth set, 10-11, Ramdin connected a booming kill from the right before Angeli Araneta delivered a quick hit to make it 13-11.
Ramdin, then, unleashed another attack for the match point while the Giga Hitters committed a reception error in the ensuing play to surrender the victory.