MANILA, Philippines – MJ Phillips sizzled in the attack zone to lift Sta. Lucia to an emphatic 25-20, 21-25, 25-17, 25-16 victory over Cherrylume in the 2017 Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference on Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
A powerful Filipino-American, Phillips erupted for 23 attacks and a pair of aces for a total of 25 points for the Lady Realtors, who nailed their first win after three tries in the club league.
With the victory, the Realtors only have to hurdle their next two assignments – Cocolife and F2 Logistics – to be in a good position entering the crossover quarterfinals.
The survivors in the quarterfinals will figure in the semis, with the victors advancing to the best-of-3 title showdown starting on July 11.
Pam Lastimosa delivered 13 points, while Janine Navarro and Danika Gendrauli had nine points each for Sta. Lucia.
“We served really tough and passed really well,” said the 6-foot Phillips, who was born in Zambales but raised in Carson, California before seeing action for Juniata College in Division III of the US NCAA.
“We’re still a work in progress, but we really wanted to get this win,” she added.
The Lady Realtors gained the upper hand on offense with 52 attacks compared to only 30 for the Iron Lady Warriors. They also had more blocks (6-4), and more aces (12-11), underscoring their dominance on both ends even though they gave Cherrylume their first set victory of the tournament in the second frame.
After their meltdown in the second set, however, the Lady Realtors sprung back to life in the third, with Philips punching holes at the defensive blanket of the Iron Lady Warriors.
Sta. Lucia was nursing a two-point lead, 18-16, before Cherrylume committed three service errors in the final stretch of the third set that set the tone for yet another heartbreaking loss.
Mary Ann Mendrez served as the lone bright spot for Cherrylume with 16 kills for a team-high 18 points.
The Iron Lady Warriors suffered their fourth consecutive loss.
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