By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The rejuvenated PLDT High-Speed Hitters asserted their mastery over the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers after blanking them in straight sets, 25-19, 25-19, 25-18, to keep them winless in the ongoing Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference semifinals last July 22, 2023, held at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
With both teams coming off frustrating losses in their respective matches to start the round-robin semifinals, it was the High-Speed Hitters that showed more grit and hunger after outplaying the Cargo Movers in three-straight sets.
Veteran outside hitter Royse Tubino showed how valuable she is for PLDT after steering them against F2 in a much-needed breakout performance.
The former Army Black Mamba spiker was all over the place against the Cargo Movers and top-scored PLDT with 20 big points built from 18 successful attacks.
It was Tubino who sparked the High-Speed Hitters’ offensive run midway through the first set after getting past F2’s signature middle blocking with her crafty style of attack.
Instead of attacking the backline, Tubino shifted gears and decided to put the ball at the arms of the extending middle blockers that always went out of line.
Fiola Ceballos also contributed timely hits in the second set, finishing the game with nine points while former national team middle blocker Dell Palomata added eight markers.
F2 made a mini-run at the start of the third set led by Myla Pablo who became their most consistent outside hitter for two-straight games now but the High-Speed Hitters recovered and iced the match with another Tubino assault.
It was only Pablo who reached double-digit scoring for the Cargo Movers after chipping in 10 points while the duo of Aby Maraño and Majoy Baron tallied nine points apiece.
“Siyempre very happy na bumawi yung mga players kasi medyo bad game nung Cignal. Pero mahirap talaga yung schedule kahit siguro with F2 kapag galing ka sa five sets na 10 o’ clock na natapos,” said PLDT head coach Rald Ricafort.