Akari charged back from a recent defeat to sister team Nxled, ramming past ousted Gerflor, 25-18, 25-15, 25-19, and keeping their slim semis hopes alive in the Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference elims in Cagayan de Oro City on Saturday, Nov. 18.
The Chargers swiftly regained their rhythm, spraying the Defenders with a cluster of hits behind Faith Nisperos and Joy Soyud, while complementing their strong offense with impressive blocking, finishing with 11 against their rivals’ three.
Nisperos and Soyud matched 11-point outputs in the one-hour, 23-minute victory fashioned out before an overflowing crowd of more than 8,000 at the Aquilino Q. Pimentel International Convention Center bracing for the key Creamline-PLDT duel later in the day.
Dindin Manabat and Fifi Sharma wound up with eight markers apiece while Ezra Madrigal, Erika Raagas and Janine Marciano added six, five and four points, respectively, as the Chargers netted 42 points in spikes, 16 more than the Defenders.
Akari likewise scored six aces against Gerflor’s two but the Chargers gave up 21 unforced errors that however hardly stymied their bid.
The victory actually snapped Akari’s three-game skid as it evened its slate to 4-4, joining pre-tournament top contenders but skidding Petro Gazz and F2 Logistics at sixth heading to the last two weeks of the single round elims of the season-ending conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.
“That’s the way of life, you’re gonna win, you’re gonna lose. But since we’re in a competition, we have to be prepared for everything, even going down,” said Akari coach Jorge Souza de Brito. “We didn’t play better the last time, but the guys really played great, so it’s time to celebrate and prepare for the next step.”
Akari faces Galeries, also winless in seven games, next on Thursday, before the Chargers clash with formidable rivals in the Angels on Nov. 25 and Cool Smashers on Nov. 30.
Danika Gendrauli topscored for Gerflor with nine points while Grace Berte and Jeanette Villareal added eight and six points, respectively, for the Defenders, who absorbed their eighth straight defeat.
“It’s a good step forward and I’m thankful that we all put our heads together. We really tried to help each other and we had full trust on our coaches’ system and with each other,” said Nisperos, who scored all her 11 points on attack to delight of the fans, including relatives and friends.
“I have several relatives and family friends who went here,” said Nisperos, who hails from Davao. “It’s really nice to see them and of course I’m grateful to be here.”
Madrigal, on the other hand, anchored the Chargers’ defense upfront, finishing with five blocks while Manabat added two.
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